To the extent anybody was scared the U.S. would repeat last cycle’s qualifying mishaps, Saturday night in Sandy, Utah, will go a long way toward minimizing any lingering fears of Mexico. Facing the team whose 2010 upset sent them into a qualifying playoff, the United States put up an 8-0 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium, the team’s first piece of preparation ahead of next month’s CONCACAF qualifying tournament.
The result meant goalkeeper Hope Solo, entering the night tied with Brianna Scurry for the team’s all-time shutouts record, now sits alone among national team No. 1s. Behind a defense that was rarely tested, Solo recorded her 72nd career shutout, besting Scurry’s mark in 19 fewer international appearances (154).
The U.S. opened the scoring in the 11th minute after an own goal from Alina Garciamendez, whose attempted clearance of an Alex Morgan pass went off Mexico goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago before bouncing in for the game’s opening score.
Twelve minutes later, Morgan set up Wambach from deep down the left flank to double the U.S.’s lead, with Morgan adding her first of the night in the 36th minute. Before halftime, Wambach scored her 170th international goal, giving Morgan her second assist of the evening while sending the U.S. into halftime up, 4-0.
Eleven minutes after the break, Morgan added her second goal of the night, with defender Whitney Engen piling on the night’s sixth before the hour. Two 60th minute substitutes, Sydney Leroux and Heather O’Reilly, added late goals, giving the U.S. its final margin.
The win runs the U.S.’s all-time record against Mexico to 28-1-1, with the Tricolor’s only victory coming curing World Cup qualifying four years ago. Though that loss in CONCACAF’s qualifying tournament threw the U.S. into a playoff for Germany 2011’s last spot, there’s little chance we’ll see a similar outcome next month. Not only are there more qualifying spots for CONCACAF at next year’s World Cup (3.5, as opposed to 2.5 in 2011), but as recent results show, Mexico’s 2-1 win in Cancun remains an extreme outlier.
Five days from now, Mexico will have another chance to prove otherwise. The two teams meet again, this time at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, N.Y.
The CONCACAF Women’s Championship begins on Oct. 15.