CONCACAF Olympic qualifying

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U.S. U-23s have talent, experience to exorcise Olympic qualifying demons

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Let’s begin here: If the United States fails to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in men’s soccer, it should probably abandon the U-23 program.

That’s pretty haughty considering the Yanks have failed to qualify in three of the last four tournaments including the 2012 Games in the United Kingdom and 2016 edition in Brazil, but consider the talent on show for this March’s friendlies against Egypt and the Netherlands in Spain.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up v. Ecuador? ]

There are Bundesliga upstarts Josh Sargent and Haji Wright, not to mention Celtic’s Tim Weah. Chicago Fire midfielder Djordje Mihailovic is in the fold, as are defenders Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City), and Atlanta United’s Miles Robinson.

And, oh yeah, they’ll get to add three Over-23 players while also potentially including several eligible players currently with the U-20s, full USMNT, or not called into March camp (Jonathan Lewis, Erik Palmer-Brown, Jonathan Amon, Luca de Torre). Even if the opposite happens and guys make the full USMNT or get injured, there’s depth here and plenty of it.

There have always been names when the Yanks have failed in qualifying, but hardly these degrees of depth and experience. In 2016 qualifying, Matt Miazga, Wil Trapp, and Emerson Hyndman were on the squad which couldn’t get the job done. 2012 saw Joe Gyau, Terrence Boyd, and Bill Hamid.

But this group could be special, favored not just to qualify but to rival others for a spot on the podium. The hiring of longtime MLS boss Jason Kreis to oversee the group is another good decision, and he’ll have this crop of players (and more) from which to select his lineups.

Goalkeepers: Jonathan Klinsmann (Hertha Berlin), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose)

Defenders: Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City), Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers), Jack Maher (Indiana University), Matthew Olosunde (Manchester United), Donovan Pines (DC United), Lucas Pos (Lausanne), Antonee Robinson (Wigan), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United)

Midfielders: Derrick Jones (Philadelphia), Cameron Lindley (Orlando City), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago), Keaton Parks (NYCFC), Eryk Williamson (Portland), Jackson Yueill (San Jose)

Forward: Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland), Josh Perez (LAFC), Emmanuel Sabbi (Hobro), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Tim Weah (Celtic), Haji Wright (Schalke).

Canada 0-2 USA: USWNT completes CONCACAF domination

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The United States took home the CONCACAF Olympic Qualification title on Sunday, defeating Canada 2-0 in the final match in Houston.

The U.S. finishes the tournament with five wins from five matches, outscoring their opposition 23-0.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USWNT coverage ]

Both teams had already qualified for the 2016 Olympics, with bragging rights on the line in the lopsided rivalry. The USWNT is now unbeaten in 31 straight matches vs. Canada dating back to 2001, earning 26 wins and five draws against their northern neighbors.

Canada had the better of play from the opening kick-off, pushing forward and looking a danger to score the first goal. However, the USWNT soon gained their footing and started to control possession.

[ MORE: American teen Pulisic makes first start for Borussia Dortmund ]

The United States’ best chance of the first half came 22 minutes in when Meghan Klingenberg whipped in a cross from the left wing. Klingenberg’s cross sailed over the goalkeeper and to Carli Lloyd at the back post, but Lloyd couldn’t get her header on target as it flew just wide.

After the break, the U.S. continued to dictate the play and finally broke through in the 53rd minute. On her 100th cap, Becky Sauerbrunn lobbed a failed clearance back into the box, with Lindsey Horan getting just enough on her header to flick over the keeper and into the net.

Less than ten minutes later it was 2-0 as Tobin Heath connected with a a sweet left-footed shot to the near post on a feed from 17-year-old Mallory Pugh.

From then on it was smooth sailing for the United States, as Canada never truly threatened Hope Solo in goal. Heading into the Olympics in Rio this summer, the U.S. will once again be favorites for gold.

Watch Live: USWNT face Canada in Olympic Qualifying title match

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Canada and the United States have dominated CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying, and the two top teams face off today in the title match in Houston.

[ WATCH: Canada vs. USWNT ]

Both countries have already secured a spot at the Rio Olympics, so this match is for pride. Kick-off is set for 5 p.m. ET and, you can watch it live online via Live Extra.

The USWNT has won all four qualifying matches in the tournament, outscoring their opposition 21-0. Canada is also undefeated with four wins, outscoring their opposition by an even greater mark of 24-1.

[ WATCH LIVE: Canada vs. USWNT live online via NBC Sports Live Extra ]

Not only is this a matchup between two of CONCACAF’s best teams, but between two of the best teams in the world. The United States has won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, while Canada took home the bronze in 2012.

USWNT’s Lloyd on qualifying for Olympics: “Journey begins now” (video)

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Carli Lloyd and the United States women’s national team have made it official: They’ll have a chance to win a fourth-straight gold medal at the Olympics in Rio this summer.

The U.S. clobbered Trinidad and Tobago 5-0 on Friday night in Houston, led by an Alex Morgan hat trick.

And Lloyd, the Yanks’ captain as well as the reigning FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, is glad to formalize her participation.

[ MORE: Sinclair scores must-see goal for Canada ]

“The journey begins now. The team did really well tonight. We broke down their defense. They were very compact. There was a sixth back at one point.”

And she also previewed the tournament final, as Canada set the stage for a fun Sunday with a 3-1 win over Costa Rica (Stream online at 5 p.m. ET Sunday via Live Extra).

“It’s going to be a great game. You’ll see a lot of transition. Both teams are going to go at one another. With one day of rest in between, it’s important to make sure you’re doing everything to recover. We gotta be ready to play and take this one home.”

USWNT headed to Olympics, tourney final after big win over Trinidad and Tobago

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Tobin Heath, Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd helped make sure there was very little drama in the USWNT’s Olympic berth clinching win over Trinidad and Tobago.

The trio scored in the first half as the U.S. built a big lead in their CONCACAF Olympic qualifying semifinal, and Morgan added two more for a hat trick. The Yanks cruised to a 5-0 win on Friday in Houston.

[ MORE: Sinclair scores must-see goal for Canada ]

The win also sets up an intriguing CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament final between the U.S. and Canada on Sunday (Stream online at 5 p.m. ET via Live Extra).

Canada defeated Costa Rica 3-1 in the other semifinal and will also represent CONCACAF in Rio this summer.

How was the first half? Lopsided:

Mallory Pugh continued her fine play, as the 17-year-old zipped down the left flank before sending a grounder through the 18 that Heath buried to make it 1-0.

The Yanks carried the play in a big way and could’ve had this looking like a blowout within the first 20 minutes, but the result would have to wait.

Lloyd set up Morgan, who had her shot saved. Pugh passed the wide-open rebound wide of the goal.

Morgan tapped in a goal in the 30th minute for the 60th goal of her career and the U.S. had some comfort.

The directive was clearly to shoot, as Lloyd and Morgan both had shots saved on odd-player rushes. And Lloyd chose her right foot over left and missed a tap-in that bordered on “sitter”.

Lloyd headed a ball that T&T keeper Kimika Forbes, solid up the 43rd minute, completely whiffed on catching and allowed between her legs.

Morgan picked up a pair of goals between the 71st and 73rd minutes to make it academic.