OLYMPICS: A-Rod's quintet wraps a rout
Lake Forest's Amy Rodriguez scored a hat trick in the first 13 minutes of the second half, added a fourth on a blast to the upper-right corner, then netted another as the U.S. women's national team pummeled the Dominican Republic, 14-0, to opens its Olympic qualifying campaign in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The five-goal outing was the best statistically for the former USC All-American, who had scored 17 international goals in her previous 73 international games. She came on at halftime, moving into her new spot in midfield in head coach Pia Sundhage's new 4-2-3-1 system, and tallied in the 46th, 48th, 58th, 70th and 75th minutes.
The Group A clash in CONCACAF's eight-nation qualifying tournament was over as soon as it began. Hermosa Beach's Abby Wambach scored after 43 seconds, Carli Lloyd tallied in the fourth, Rachel Buehler in the seventh ,and it was 5-0 before 20 minutes were gone.
It was the most lopsided result in the competition's history. The U.S., which has won gold in three of four Olympic women's soccer competitions and silver in the other, had 35 shots to none for the Dominicans.
The only negative was a knee injury suffered by Germany-based defender Ali Krieger that Sundhage, on CONCACAF's live stream of the game, said looked like “a serious injury, but we don't know exactly what it is.” Tests Saturday will determine the extent of the damage.
Heather O'Reilly had a hat trick, Wambach scored twice -- her 126th and 127th international strikes -- and Tobin Heath and former UCLA star Lauren Cheney also had goals for the U.S., which faces Guatemala on Sunday and Mexico on Tuesday. The semifinal winners next Friday will advance to this summer's London Games.
In other group openers:
- Maribel Dominguez's hat trick led Mexico past Guatemala, 5-0, in the other Group B game. Former Cal State Fullerton star Marlene Sandoval (Placentia/Valencia HS) started in the back for El Tri, whose roster included two stars from NCAA champ Stanford, including Hermann Award winner Teresa Noyola.
- Christine Sinclair netted four goals as Canada routed Haiti, 6-0, in a Group A clash Thursday. Sinclair, who played at the University of Portland and has won WPS titles with FC Gold Pride and Western New York Flash, has 124 international goals.
- Sandy Rosales and Wendy Acosta tallied in Costa Rica's 2-0 victory over Cuba in Group A.