U.S. women beat Canada for CONCACAF W title, earn berth in 2024 Olympics

MONTERREY, Mexico — Alex Morgan converted a penalty kick in the 78th minute and the U.S. women’s national team won the CONCACAF W Championship 1-0 over Canada on Monday night to secure one of the region’s spots in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

As FIFA President Gianni Infantino watched from a private box, the United States finally broke a stalemate when Rose Lavelle — who plays for Seattle-based OL Reign of the National Women’s Soccer League — was fouled in the box and Morgan fooled Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan on the penalty. It was Morgan’s 118th overall career goal.

Jamaica defeated Costa Rica 1-0 in overtime earlier Monday to claim third place in the tournament.

The four semifinalists all earlier earned spots in the 2023 World Cup next summer in Australia and New Zealand. Runner-up Canada will play Jamaica in a playoff for the CONCACAF region’s other Olympic bid in September 2023.

The United States is 33-0 in World Cup or Olympic qualifying matches since losing to Mexico 2-1 before the 2011 World Cup.

The final was a rematch of the Olympic semifinal a year ago in Tokyo. Canada edged the United States 1-0 on a late penalty kick to advance to the final, its first victory over the U.S. team in 20 years.

The Canadians went on to win the gold medal after a penalty shootout with Sweden. The United States finished with the bronze medal.

Alyssa Naeher was in goal for the United States instead of Casey Murphy, who started the last game at the tournament. Defender Emily Fox returned to the U.S. lineup from COVID-19 protocol.

Temperatures hovered in the low 90s at the start of the match at Estadio BBVA. Sheridan had a big save in the 31st minute when Mallory Pugh made a break down the right side and took a hard shot.

Sheridan made another stop in the 45th, with an assist from teammate Kadeisha Buchanan, on Sophia Smith’s attempt to score near the goal line. Smith had another chance in the 64th, but the shot went wide.

Canada had a series of late opportunities, including a header from Jordyn Huitema that went wide.

Meanwhile, Kalyssa van Zanten scored in the 102nd minute to give Jamaica the edge in the earlier game.

Van Zanten, who plays for Notre Dame, came into the match as a substitute in the 99th minute and scored on a well-placed pass from Drew Spence.

“I talked to her before she goes in and told her there’s a goal in those boots and she nodded to me and it gave her some confidence,” said Jamaica coach Lorne Donaldson, who just took over the Reggae Girlz early last month amid upheaval.

Costa Rica had perhaps the best opportunity in the first half when Melissa Herrera faced Jamaica goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer alone, but her shot went wide left.

Rocky Rodriguez, who plays for the Portland Thorns in the NWSL, hit the post with a shot in stoppage time, and the game went to overtime.

Costa Rica fell to the United States 3-0 in the semifinals, while Jamaica lost to Canada 3-0.

Jamaica and Costa Rica have each been to the World Cup once before.

The United States has been to every World Cup since the tournament started in 1991. The Americans have four championships, including the last two in 2015 and 2019.

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