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USWNT trounces Costa Rica 6-0 in 2019 finale (video)

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Carli Lloyd and Morgan Brian scored in the first 10 minutes and Lynn Williams came off the bench to add a pair of second-half goals in the United States’ 6-0 victory over Costa Rica on Sunday night at TIAA Bank Field in the Americans’ final match of the year.

The U.S. was 20W-3D-1L in 2019, finishing with a 23-match unbeaten streak.

Lloyd started the scoring in the fourth minute, taking a long pass from Rose Lavelle and drilling a shot from the left side of the box past goalkeeper Noelia Bermudez. Lloyd scored twice in a 3-2 victory over Sweden on Thursday night.

Brian added a goal in the 10th minute, taking Lavelle’s pass and sending a scorching shot into the corner of the net. It was especially gratifying for Brian, who grew up in nearby St. Simons Island, Georgia, and conducts camps in the Jacksonville area during the offseason.

U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski made several substitutions at halftime and it quickly paid dividends.

Williams converted in the 50th minute off a pass from Tobin Heath. Williams added a second goal in the 68th minute, taking an assist from Jessica McDonald. Williams narrowly missed a hat trick when her point-blank shot was caught by Bermudez late in the game.

Christen Press and Margaret Purce also added second-half goals.

U.S. goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris had a relatively easy time, needing to turn back just one shot. The closest Costa Rica came to scoring was when Melissa Herrera hit the cross bar on a shot in the 62nd minute and teammate Priscilla Chinchilla did the same in the 76th minute.

Australian federation, players’ union close gender pay gap

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SYDNEY — Australia’s football federation and players’ union say they have agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement that closes the pay gap between the men’s and women’s national teams.

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The new four-year CBA announced Tuesday ensures the Socceroos and Matildas receive a 24 percent share of an agreed aggregate of generated revenues in 2019-20, rising by 1 percent each year.

Under the agreement, players are entitled to 40 percent of prize money on qualifying for a FIFA World Cup, representing an increase from 30 percent. That share of prize money increases to 50 percent if they progress to the knockout stage of the competition.

“The new agreement reflects football’s determination to address issues of gender equity in all facets of the game and build a sustainable financial model that rewards players as national team revenues increase,” a joint statement said. “Significantly for the Matildas, a new three-tiered centralized contract system will see Australia’s finest women’s footballers provided with increased annual remuneration with the tier 1 players earning the same amount as the top Socceroos.”

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The agreement still doesn’t reflect equal remuneration: the Socceroos’ prize money is exponentially greater than the Matildas.

Local media reported that at the 2018 men’s World Cup in Russia, the Socceroos earned $5.5 million just for qualifying, and then failed to win a game. The Matildas earned about $700,000 for making the knockout stages at the Women’s World Cup in France this year.

Critics say the women will still end up with a much smaller share and that the teams should share the same percentage of a total prize money pool.

USMNT falls two spots in FIFA rankings; Canada 6th in CONCACAF

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Canada moved into sixth place among CONCACAF nations in the FIFA rankings, putting it on track to compete for a World Cup berth in the North and Central American and Caribbean region.

Following a 2-0 victory over the United States in a CONCACAF Nations League match at Toronto, Canada rose six places to 69th in the world, passing El Salvador, which fell from 72nd to 73rd. The Canadians play the U.S. again on Nov. 15 at Orlando, Florida.

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The top six CONCACAF teams in next June’s rankings will play for three World Cup berths during qualifying from September 2020 through September 2021, known as the hexagonal. All the other teams in the region will compete for the right to meet the fourth-place team in the hex in a playoff. The playoff winner will play a nation from another region for a spot in the 2022 tournament in Qatar.

Mexico leads the region and moved up one place to 11th in the world, according to September rankings announced Thursday. The U.S. dropped two spots to 23rd and is followed in the region by Jamaica (45), Costa Rica (47) and Honduras (63).

Report: Vlatko Andonovski to be new USWNT head coach

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U.S. Soccer’s search for a new U.S. women’s national team head coach has reached a quick and tidy conclusion with Vlatko Andonovski expected to be announced as the replacement to Jill Ellis next week, according to a report from Sports Illustrated.

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Andonovski was the favorite to replace Ellis from the moment it became public knowledge she would be stepping aside following the conclusion of the USWNT’s 2019 World Cup victory tour. The 43-year-old has excelled as head coach of two NWSL franchises, FC Kansas City (2013-2017) and Seattle Reign (2018-2019), winning back-to-back NWSL titles in 2013 and 2014 and earning public praise from some of the highest-profile players whom he coached.

It was most notably that massive popularity with the players — for both his personality and tactical acumen — which made him the heavy favorite from day one.

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Prior to becoming the first head coach of FCKC (the franchise has since been relocated to Salt Lake City, where it is now knows as Utah Royals FC under the ownership and operation of MLS franchise Real Salt Lake), Andonovski was the assistant coach of the Kansas City Comets indoor team. He held both the FCKC and Comets head jobs from 2013 to 2016.

The 2 Robbies podcast: U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle are joined by former U.S. men’s international midfielder and current Under-20 men’s head coach, Tab Ramos, to discuss youth soccer’s development in the United States (1:15), Christian Pulisic‘s start at Chelsea (13:45), and how the USMNT era under Gregg Berhalter is going so far (21:10).

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies