FOOTBALL: U.S. skips past Canada for CONCACAF Women’s title, 2-0

Rose Lavelle celebrates with Julie Ertz after scoring in the CONCACAF women's final (Photo: Mexsport)

The United States won, as it was favored to do, the CONCACAF Women’s Championship over Canada, 2-0, before 6.996 spectators at a cold and rainy Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

Midfielder Rose Lavelle got the American squad off to a flying start, rocketing a left-footed shot from the top of the box into the upper right corner of the Canadian net just 78 seconds into the game!

But although the U.S. had 62% of the possession in the half and outshot the defense-minded Canadians by 7-2, the score stayed at 1-0.

The second half had more action and more Canadian offense. There were some tense moments for U.S. keeper Alyssa Naeher, but neither side could score and the game looked like it might end without another score.

But off of a Tobin Heath corner kick, a poor Canadian clearance placed the ball at the feet of Crystal Dunn at the top of the box and her pass to Lindsey Horan at the left of goal drew the defense to stop a possible shot. Horan then made an on-target pass to a streaking Alex Morgan, who knocked the ball in and then crashed into Canadian keeper Stephanie Labbe for a 2-0 U.S. lead.

That’s how it ended, as Morgan scored her 97th international goal for the U.S. The Americans outshot Canada, 12-3 for the game and ended with 57% of the possession time.

The U.S. dominated the tournament, ending with a perfect 5-0 record and a 26-0 goals-against scoreline. Canada won its first four games and also qualified for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, outscoring its opponents, 24-3.

In the third-place game, Jamaica also earned a berth in France, winning a thriller from Panama on penalty kicks, 4-2, after a 1-1 tie in regulation time and 2-2 after extra time. The young Panamanians still have a chance to qualify for the World Cup, with a two-leg playoff coming up against Argentina.

U.S. midfielder Julie Ertz was named the Golden Ball winner as the top player in the tournament, with Jamaican forward Jody Brown as the best young player and Panama’s 17-year-old goalkeeper Yenith Bailey as the Golden Glove winner.

The “Best XI” all-star team included defenders Kelley O’Hara, Abby Dahlkemper and Crystal Dunn, midfielders Lindsey Horan and Ertz and forwards Tobin Heath, Megan Rapinoe and Morgan. Also selected were Bailey as the goalkeeper, Canadian defender Rebecca Quinn and Canadian midfielder Jessie Fleming.

Morgan won the Golden Boot award as the top scorer with seven goals. Naeher claimed her 20th shutout as a U.S. keeper, in 37 starts.

The U.S. won the CONCACAF women’s tournament for the eighth time in its 10 editions, with a 32-1-0 record (and 184-5 on goals scored). The U.S. all-time record against Canada improved to 49-3-7.

The U.S. now has an unbeaten streak of 26 (23-0-3) games since a loss to Australia in mid-2017. In 2018, the U.S. women are 16-0-2 and have outscored their opponents, 62-10. The U.S. also is now unscored on for 704 minutes, dating back to the 2 August game vs. Brazil in the Tournament of Nations and for seven games since.