USWNT: Americans officially book ticket to 2015 World Cup with 3-0 win over Mexico

Carli Lloyd (USWNT) plays against Mexico

CHESTER, Pa. – United States soccer fans can officially start planning their vacations to Canada next summer.

In the semifinals of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship at PPL Park on Friday, the US national team rolled past Mexico, 3-0, to earn a spot in the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

Carli Lloyd helped the United States book their ticket to the tourney – which will be held in Canada from June 6 to July 5 – with a pair of first-half goals.

Christen Press added a second-half score for the US, who will look to win their fifth CONCACAF championship when they face Costa Rica in Sunday’s title game. Earlier in the day, Costa Rica booked their first-ever World Cup spot by defeating Trinidad and Tobago, 3-0, on penalty kicks after the game was tied 1-1 through regulation and extra time.

Mexico, who didn’t register a single shot on goal Friday, will meet Trinidad and Tobago in Sunday's third-place game with the winner also advancing to the World Cup. The loser of that game will get another shot to make the 24-team World Cup field if they beat Ecuador in a home-and-home series later this year.

Lloyd, a native of nearby Delran, N.J., got the US on the board in the sixth minute, heading home a perfect cross from Tobin Heath.

She completed her brace in the 30th minute with a penalty-kick goal after Heath – who’s enjoyed a huge tournament – got taken down at the edge of the box by Mexico’s Christina Murillo.
Lloyd thought she completed the hat trick in the 75th minute but had a goal called back for being offside.

Press helped cement the win in the 56th minute, taking a soft first touch around Mexico goalkeeper Pamela Tajonar following a through ball from Sydney Leroux and easily scoring on an open net to make it 3-0.

The United States – who rampaged through the group stage with shutout victories over Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala and Haiti – could have easily won by more. In the 19th minute, Tajonar stopped Press before Leroux’s follow was blocked. And two minutes later, Press made a great first touch on a long ball but her close-range shot hit the side netting.

Early in the second half, Leroux had another near-miss when a Megan Rapinoe cross squirted through the box and she boomed an open look off the crossbar. And in the 61st minute, Leroux again hit the post, this time with a shot from distance.

In the 84th minute, the US pinged one off the post for the third time, with Press doing the honors.

The US were able to dominate Friday’s game despite missing star forward Alex Morgan, who sprained her ankle in the team’s 5-1 win over Guatemala last Friday and was ruled out for the remainder of the tournament.

Three-time World Cup Veteran Abby Wambach also didn’t start but entered the game in the 62nd minute for Leroux.

The United States weren’t short on seasoned veterans, though. Captain Christie Rampone made her 300th USWNT cap, anchoring the team’s defense in the shutout.

The US are now 26-1-0 all-time in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, with their only loss coming to Mexico in the 2010 semifinals.

Friday’s win gave the Americans a measure of revenge over their nearest rival to the south – but, more importantly, a chance to play in the home country of their nearest rival to the north next summer for a chance at another World Cup title.