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Sunday, January 22, 2012
OLYMPICS: Leroux takes fifth at home

By Scott French

Sydney Leroux took the spotlight as the U.S. women's national team continued its massacre of CONCACAF minnows, scoring five goals in her second international appearance, a 13-0 rout of Guatemala in Olympic qualifying in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Leroux, a three-time UCLA All-American who was born in Vancouver and lived there until moving at 15 to Phoenix for soccer considerations, came on at halftime and matched Amy Rodriguez's five-goal performance in Friday's 14-0 victory over the Dominican Republic, the Yanks' Group A opener.

Hermosa Beach's Abby Wambach tallied twice in the first 15 minutes -- her 128th and 129th international goals, one shy of Kristine Lilly's No. 2 all-time total -- and Rodriguez (Lake Forest/Santa Margarita Catholic HS and USC) added to her total as the U.S. clinched a berth in Friday's all-important semifinals.

The U.S. and Mexico, which also has won big in its matches, will meet in a group finale Tuesday. The victor will win the group -- a draw favors the U.S. -- and likely avoid Canada, a dangerous foe. Costa Rica also has qualified for the semifinals and needs a win Monday over the Canadians to win Group A.

Only the semifinal winners advance to next summer's London Games.

It was 6-0 by halftime after the Americans scored four times in 10 minutes -- with UCLA alum Lauren Cheney, Rodriguez, Carli Lloyd and Lori Lindsey scoring goals -- and Leroux took charge after that.

The athletic forward, whom the Atlanta Beat made the first selection in the Women's Professional Soccer draft earlier this month, scored in the 48th, 50th, 57h, 70th and 87th minutes.

Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan (Diamond Bar/Diamond Bar HS) also scored second-half goals.

U.S. coach Pia Sundhage rotated her lineup, making six changes from the team that beat the Dominicans. One was for defender Ali Krieger, who suffered torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments near the end of the first half in the opener.

In other games:

STANDINGS
Group A

1. Canada 2-0-0 (8-0 GF-GA) 6 points
2. Costa Rica 2-0-0 (4-0) 6
3. Cuba 0-2-0 (0-4) 0
4. Haiti 0-2-0 (0-8) 0
Group B
1. United States 2-0-0 (27-0) 6
2. Mexico 2-0-0 (12-0) 6
3. Guatemala 0-2-0 (0-18) 0
4. Dominican Republic 0-2-0 (0-21) 0