Los Angeles Soccer: Ali Krieger
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.
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.
U.S. women's national team coach Pia Sundhage has a novel plan to prepare for this summer's Women's World Cup without depriving her players' teams of their star players.
She's staging an three-week camp in West Palm Beach, Fla. that begins next Monday, with the players on hand during the week, then joining their Women's Professional Soccer clubs for weekend games.
The 29-player roster has 25 WPS players, three collegians who will attend camp for one week and defender Ali Krieger, who just completed her club season with FFC Frankfurt in Germany, the World Cup host.
Four local products (Redondo Beach's Shannon Boxx, Rolling Hills Estates' Whitney Engen, Diamond Bar's Alex Morgan and Lake Forest's Amy Rodriguez), UCLA stars past (Lauren Cheney) and present (Sydney Leroux), and two veterans who settled in the South Bay (Abby Wambach and Lindsay Tarpley) are on the roster. Sundhage can take 21 players to the June 26-July 17 World Cup.