Women’s Soccer Qualifying

The United States Women’s soccer national team is more famous than the men’s version.  That’s probably because they have had a lot more success.  The Americans have participated in every Olympic Games, with gold medal wins in 1996, 2004, 2008, and 2012.  The US team also had a silver medal in 2000.

So what do we face?  Six teams will try to qualify for two spots.  Those two teams make it to Rio.  The US team plays February 10th against Costa Rica, the 13th versus Mexico, and the 15th against Puerto Rico.

If they make it to the semifinals (they will) then the game is February 19th.  The Final is then played on the 21st.

No team has secured the Women’s World Cup and Olympic gold in back-to-back years.  The US will be the first team to try to do that, and the first team to win four straight gold medals.  It all starts here.

The US Women are missing four retired players.  Abby Wambach is done.  So is Lauren Holiday, Shannon Boxx, and Lori Chalupny.

Two women are pregnant: Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux.  Megan Rapine and Christie Rampone will miss the games due to injury.

Format

There are two groups.  The US is in Group A along with Mexico, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico.  Mexico is stocked with talented players who played college ball in America.  Costa Rica is improved and is coming off of their World Cup debut.

Group B has Canada, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago, and Guyana.

The top two teams in each will advance. The first place team plays the other groups second place team.

Prediction

I think USA is a virtual lock to make it.  It’s nearly impossible to score on them.  Goalkeeper Hope Solo has allowed just a single goal in six World Cup matches before surrendering two in the final against Japan.  Carli Lloyed scored in the last two Olympic gold medal games and made a name for herself in the World Cup final.

Who else makes it?  Costa Rica is probably the next best team.  They have Raquel Rodriguez who was the first Tica to score at the World Cup.  She also just won the Hermann Trophy as the best women’s college player last season.

Here is a video of the President honoring the World Cup championship team from last year.

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