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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.

Judge grants USWNT class status in discrimination lawsuit

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The U.S. women’s national team has been granted class status in its lawsuit against U.S. Soccer that alleges gender discrimination in compensation and working conditions.

U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner’s ruling Friday in Los Angeles expands the case beyond the 28 players who originally brought the lawsuit to include all players who had been called up to camp or played in a game over a multiyear period. U.S. Soccer had opposed the move to certify the class.

[READ: Lloyd leads USWNT, Andonovski to first win]

Twenty-eight players, including stars Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, were part of the original suit filed against U.S. Soccer in March alleging institutionalized gender discrimination that includes inequitable compensation between the men’s and women’s teams. A May 5 trial date has been set in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

The federation has maintained that compensation for each team is the result of separate collective bargaining agreements, and that the pay structures are different as a result. Men’s team players are paid largely by appearance and performance, while the contract for the women’s team includes provisions for health care and other benefits, as well as salaries in the National Women’s Soccer League.

The players disputed U.S. Soccer’s claims that some of them made more than their male counterparts, maintaining that if men had been as successful as the women’s team, they would have earned far more. The U.S. women won back-to-back World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019. The men failed to make the field for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Judge Klausner did not rule on the merits of the lawsuit but acknowledged the players’ claims that they were paid less on a per-game basis than the men and did not enjoy the same working conditions.

“The failure to provide the (women’s National Team) with equal working conditions is a real (not abstract) injury which affects each Plaintiff in a personal and individual way,” the judge ruled “Plaintiffs also have offered sufficient proof of this injury. Indeed, Plaintiffs have submitted declarations establishing that WNT players were subject to discriminatory working conditions.”

Molly Levinson, who speaks for the players in matters of the lawsuit, applauded the ruling.

“This is a historic step forward in the struggle to achieve equal pay. We are so pleased that the Court has recognized USSF’s ongoing discrimination against women players – rejecting USSF’s tired arguments that women must work twice as hard and accept lesser working conditions to get paid the same as men. We are calling on (U.S. Soccer President) Carlos Cordeiro to lead USSF and demand an end to the unlawful discrimination against women now,” Levinson said.

U.S. Soccer had “no specific comment” on the ruling.

Captain Lloyd leads USWNT to win in Andonovski’s debut

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Vlatko Andonovski’s first match at USWNT boss started with glory and ended with tension, the World Cup champs riding a three-goal lead to a 3-2 win over Sweden on Thursday at Columbus Crew Stadium.

Carli Lloyd captained the side, scoring twice and adding an assist before missing a penalty that could’ve made the score 4-2 late.

[ RECAPS: Man Utd 3-0 Partizan | Wolves 1-0 Slovan Bratislava ]

Christen Press also scored for Yanks, who allowed two goals to Anna Anvegard in five second half minutes. The Yanks out shot Sweden 16-7 and had a shade under 50 percent possession.

Andonovski was named coach on Oct. 28, taking the reins from two-time World Cup winner Jill Ellis. He comes from the NWSL’s Seattle Reign.

Lloyd’s second goal was a peach.

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.

Andonovski aware of expectations as new USWNT coach

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NEW YORK — Vlatko Andonovski is well aware of the expectations he faces as the new coach of the U.S women’s national team.

His predecessor, Jill Ellis, led the team to consecutive World Cup titles – an accomplishment her successor can only hope to equal.

“What this team has done and what Jill has done is absolutely amazing,” Andonovski said Monday at his introductory news conference. “Jill was hired to win one World Cup, and she won two. It just pushed the standards even higher. … I knew coming into it that it will be extremely important to win all the big tournaments.”

[ MORE: Dest a win for Berhalter ]

The native of Macedonia played for several teams in Europe before an indoor soccer career in the United States. He has coached in the National Women’s Soccer League for the past seven seasons, starting with FC Kansas City from the league’s inception in 2013 until the team folded in 2017 and winning two titles in that time. The 43-year-old joined Reign FC in 2017.

Hiring a new coach was the first major task for U.S. general manager Kate Markgraf since her hiring in August as the first person to hold that position.

“We identified the qualities we thought were most important for this unique position. We talked to quite a few people in the women’s soccer community domestically and around the world, and in the end, Vlatko was the best fit with his experience with elite players, how he sees the game, how he coaches the game and manages players, and his overall personality and ability to take on a job of this magnitude,” Markgraf said. “I know all the players and staff are excited to begin this new chapter in women’s national team history with him and start the important work towards qualifying for the Olympics.”

Ellis announced her departure from the national team a little more than three weeks after the United States beat the Netherlands in Lyon, France, for its fourth World Cup title. Her final match as coach came earlier this month when the team capped a five-game victory tour with a 1-1 draw with South Korea in Chicago.

Several players, including Allie Long and Emily Sonnett, spoke out in recent months in support of Andonovski.

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“It’s amazing,” he said. “I think it’s very important to know that the players are excited just as well as me. They’re some of the best players in the world and to know the best players in the world valued the knowledge and understanding and the job that I do, it’s extremely important for me and I’m just humbled by that and some of their comments.”

Andonovski will immediately begin preparations for the U.S. team to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. He said there will be a camp before a pair of exhibition matches: against Sweden in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 7, and against Costa Rica in Jacksonville, Florida, on Nov. 10. That will be followed by another camp in December.

The new coach talked about the need to adapt as the sport evolves and grows around the world.

“If we don’t follow the trends, all the other national teams are going to catch up with us,” he said. “At the same time, I don’t just want to follow the trends, I want to set some of those trends. We want to be creative and we want to be leaders in those trends.”

Asked about expanding the player pool for the national team, Andonovski said he plans to consider players everywhere.

“Anywhere we think we can find a player or two to make this team better and help us win games, we’re going to consider that player, whether it’s NWSL, Europe, anywhere in the world, or college soccer,” he said. “We’re going to look very thorough and do the research involved to make it possible.”