The U.S. women’s national soccer team (USWNT) qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics on Monday night, defeating Canada 1-0 to win the 2022 Concacaf W Championship.
Alex Morgan scored the lone USWNT goal in the 78th minute, converting on a penalty, which was drawn by Rose Lavelle. (Video of Morgan’s goal is embedded below.)
“Before the final, I did speak to Alex about how she feels about taking the penalty, because obviously, she’s going against her club teammate (Kailen Sheridan),” said U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski.
“First, she wanted to take it, and her answer was with confidence, which gave me confidence as well. But also, Alex is a big player, and big players are born for big moments. That’s what makes her special.”
It marked a bit of revenge for the USWNT, who were ousted by Canada in the semifinal round at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics – also by a 1-0, penalty winner.
“They gave us a run for our money, but we prevailed and feel good about the performance,” Morgan said in a Paramount+ post-game interview.
With multiple players currently out due to injury and pregnancy, Team USA’s starting lineup in Monterrey, Mexico, on Monday night (and the overall USWNT Concacaf roster) looked remarkably different than that Olympic semifinal loss, with just five overlapping players in the starting XI: Morgan, Alyssa Naeher, Becky Sauerbrunn, Lindsey Horan, and Rose Lavelle.
Canada, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, will now need to win an Olympic play-off game against Jamaica in September 2023 in order to qualify for the 2024 Olympics.
The final moments of the game were rocky for the USWNT — as well as the Paramount+ broadcast, which dropped off during the 91st minute — and the final whistle came after Naeher made a save in the sixth minute of five minutes of stoppage time.
The U.S. and Canada — as well as Jamaica and Costa Rica — also qualified for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand by reaching the semifinal round of the Concacaf W Championship.
Video of Alex Morgan’s game-winning penalty at the 2022 Concacaf W Championship:
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