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United States midfielder Julie Ertz (8) and Costa Rica midfielder Raquel Chacon (20) collide as they go for a header while Costa Rica forward Maria Salas (17), midfielder Lindsey Horan (9) and midfielder Katherine Alvarado (16) look on during the first half of a CONCACAF women’s Olympic qualifying soccer match Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, in Houston.
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HOUSTON (AP) — Christen Press and Samantha Mewis each scored a pair of goals and the United States beat Costa Rica 6-0 on Monday night to finish atop its group in the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament.

The World Cup-winning U.S. team extended its unbeaten streak to 26 games. The Americans wrapped up the group stage with three shutouts and 18 goals.

Both teams had already earned a spot in the semifinals of the tournament later this week in Carson, California. Eight teams are playing in the tournament, which will determine the region’s two berths to the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

The semifinal matchups will be determined on Tuesday when Canada plays Mexico on Tuesday in Edinburg, Texas. The winner of that match will avoid the top-ranked Americans.

Press extended her scoring streak to four straight games with a goal in the fourth minute. Lindsey Horan, who had a hat trick in the U.S. team’s 8-0 victory over Panama on Friday, scored some six minutes later.

Press, who plays for Utah of the National Women’s Soccer League, added her second goal in the 36th minute.

Mewis scored on a free kick by Press in the 63rd minute and Jessica McDonald added a goal in the 77th before Mewis’ second goal, which appeared to just barely hit the line after deflecting down off the crossbar.

The crowd at Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium was announced at 7,082. Already eliminated, Haiti beat Panama 6-0 in the other group game earlier in the day.

Costa Rica rested top players Shirley Cruz and Raquel Rodriguez in anticipation of the semifinals on Friday.

The U.S. has qualified for every Olympics since women’s soccer was introduced in 1996, and has won the gold medal four times. The team has five consecutive titles in the qualifying tournament.

Six teams have already made the field for Tokyo: Japan, Brazil, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden and New Zealand.

Posted 5:09 pm, February 5, 2020
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