Soccer  > General Soccer  > United States storms past Costa Rica 4-0
November 2, 2010, 11:00 AM
CANCUN, Mexico - Abby Wambach scored for a third straight game, converting a penalty to help the United States a 4-0 victory over Costa Rica on Monday and send it to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Women's World Cup Qualifying with a perfect record.

Lauren Cheney, Yael Averbuch and Alex Morgan also scored for the Americans, who won Group B with nine points and will face the runner-up from Group A, either Canada or Mexico, in the knockout round on Friday. Canada needs only a draw against Mexico on Tuesday to win Group A and avoid its southern neighbor.

Wambach, who hiked her tournament total to six goals, was one of five U.S. players who heard from a published report earlier in the day that the American Women's Profession Soccer league was planning to announce that their club teams, the Washington Freedom and FC Gold Pride, would fold.

Costa Rica will face the Group A winner in the other semifinal. Semifinal winners will qualify for next year's Women's World Cup in Germany while the losers will face off in the third-place game. The winner of the consolation match will have a second chance to qualify for Germany, entering a two-leg playoff with the fifth-place team from Europe for another berth.

Both the United States and Costa Rica already were assured of semifinal berths and faced off for semifinal seeding.

Costa Rica had to play without Raquel Rodriguez Cedeno, who scored twice in its 3-0 victory over Guatemala, due to accumulated yellow cards. But "Las Ticas" had all of the play for the first 16 minutes, creating three chances but without getting a shot on goal.

Wendy Acosta had the best chance after only a minute and a half, breaking in alone on goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, but hooking her left-footed shot well wide of the far post.

Then the Americans began to maintain possession and the traffic was all the other way from the 22nd minute onward.

Carol Sanchez had to make a sliding block of a point-blank shot by Carli Lloyd in the 24th, and Lauren Cheney put one high before she drew the foul that led to Wambach's penalty.

Cheney received the ball with her back to goal inside the top of the area and Costa Rican midfielder Shirley Cruz went in from behind with a lunging left foot that brought the Boston Breakers forward down on top of her and a whistle from Mexican referee Lucila Venegas.

Cruz argued that Cheney dived, but Venegas dismissed her appeal with a yellow card for the foul.

Venegas had an opportunity to award Costa Rica a penalty in the first minute of injury time when Ali Krieger lunged to bring down Monica Malvassi, but the Mexican let play continue despite the howls from Costa Rica.

The second half was nearly all United States and three goals in 12 minutes settled the affiar. Costa Rica goalkeeper Dinnia Diaz twice stopped Cheney and also thwarted Kristine Lilly before the Americans added a second goal in the 69th.

Cheney headed Averbuch's corner kick that Diaz blocked, but the ball fell to the feet of Cheney, who kicked in the loose ball from the edge of the six-yard box.

Averbuch increased the lead in the 73rd, rocketing a 30-meter free kick past substitute goalkeeper, Priscila Tapia, who replaced Diaz only a minute earlier. Diaz was injured in a collision with Cheney in the 60th minute.

Morgan tacked on her goal in the 81st. Heather O'Reilly's cross got caught under Morgan's feet inside the six-yard box, but Costa Rica was unable to clear, and the only amateur on the U.S. side found enough time and space to toe the ball across the line.

The victory was the sixth by United States in as many games against Costa Rica, having outscored the Central Americans 31-0.

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