USWNT Avenges Olympics Defeat, Qualifies For Next Olympics With One Alex Morgan Kick

The U.S. women’s national team is heading back to the Olympics thanks to a bit of revenge on the team that knocked it out of the last Olympics less than a year ago.

Alex Morgan converted a 78th-minute penalty kick to finally break through against Canada for a 1-0 win in the Concacaf W Championship final on Monday in Monterrey. Neither team had given up a goal all tournament, and Morgan buried the winner against her club teammate Kailen Sheridan, who was marvelous on Monday to keep the U.S. off the scoreboard from open play. 

The win clinched a berth to the 2024 Olympics for the U.S., which lost 1-0 to Canada in the semifinals of the 2020 Tokyo Games. Canada, which won gold in Tokyo last summer, will be forced into a playoff in September 2023 for Concacaf’s second Olympics bid. The Canucks will play that match against Jamaica after the Reggae Girlz edged Costa Rica 1-0 on an extra-time goal from Kiki Van Zanten in the third-place match earlier in the day. 

The U.S. improved to 52-3-7 all time against Canada, the No. 6-ranked team in the world, with another shutout from Alyssa Naeher. The USWNT hasn’t allowed a goal in Concacaf play since 2010 (a semifinal loss to Mexico). For those keeping score at home, that’s 11 years and eight months, 4,273 days or 102,553 hours. 

USWNT vs Canada Highlights (2022 Concacaf W Championship Final)

Sheridan was arguably the player of the match, recording five saves, including a few impressive stops in the first half. 

The U.S. created the better chances and it looked like it might finally break through in the 65th minute when Morgan played a perfectly weighted through ball to spring Sophia Smith. Though Smith rounded Sheridan in stride, she skewed her shot wide.

Despite constantly knocking on the door, the Americans couldn’t find a goal from open play. 

Just like in the Olympic meeting, the match was decided by a penalty kick. Rose Lavelle was clipped in the box to win the game-deciding spot kick, which was converted by Morgan. 

Though a penalty isn’t the most convincing way to win a match, it was a deserved result for the Americans. 

The USWNT has now won nine of 11 Concacaf championships (Canada owns the other two). The result takes some pressure off Vlatko Andonovksi after some less-than-impressive showings recently

The biggest shame of the match was that it was streamed on Paramount+ and not made available on TV. Would it been that hard to bump a rerun of NCIS to air the match on CBS? At the very least, CBSSN didn’t need to show an old golf tournament. For the most part, CBS’s coverage of the Concacaf W Championship was excellent; the only real issue was so few people had access to the matches, with just two of five USWNT matches on TV. The matches on Paramount+ were plagued by quality issues, buffering and weird commercials. At one point late in the match, the feed stopped entirely and viewers missed a couple minutes of action.

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