Members of the U.S. women's soccer team celebrate a goal in the Concacaf semifinal on Oct. 14, 2018 in Frisco, Texas.
FRISCO, Texas -- Since winning the first FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991, the U.S. women’s national soccer team has been a fixture at the sport’s marquee event, winning the tournament three times.
And after defeating Jamaica 6-0 on Sunday evening in the second semifinal of the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship at Toyota Stadium, the U.S. again punched its ticket to the next FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will be in France between June 7 and July 7, 2019.
Besides its three Women’s World Cup championships, including the most recent one in 2015, the U.S. has one runner-up and three third-place showings.
“Yeah, it feels really good,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said of qualifying for France. “I think the players tonight were really excited obviously about the beginning of a new journey. I just think tonight we were in control of the game. Obviously, with the early goal, that put the momentum on us.”
That early goal Ellis speaks of came just two minutes in when Tobin Heath scored her first of two in the game, this one off a rebound. Megan Rapinoe then made it 2-0 in the 15th with a highlight-reel goal from the right flank coming after she received a diagonal ball that traveled approximately 50 yards.
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Julie Ertz scored in the 21st minute, followed by Heath’s second tally in the 29th and the first of two by Alex Morgan, who continues to pace the U.S. attack with six goals in the tournament, in the 33rd minute. Morgan closed out the scoring with a penalty kick in the 84th minute.
“It’s been really fun to see the variety of attacks that we have,” Ertz said. “A lot of goals, obviously, which is always fun for everyone. Just to see the amount of players who have goals is huge as well because it shows you the variety that we have on the team.”
All told, the U.S. has scored 24 goals in four tournament games, those goals coming from 10 different players.
“I just think the variety with which we score goals and the players and the different players that are scoring goals (is great to see),” Ellis said. “Just overall really pleased. Credit to the players, they were fantastic. I think they’ve had a really good tournament and obviously we have one more (game).”
That game is the Concacaf title game against Canada on Wednesday.
Concacaf, the region that includes North America, Central America and the Caribbean, has three automatic berths to the World Cup. The U.S. and Canada claimed two of those by winning their respective semifinals.
The final will also be at Toyota Field, north of Dallas. Jamaica and Panama will play for third place and the region’s final automatic World Cup bid, while the loser will face Argentina in a playoff, with the winner also advancing to France.
“We’ve always had really competitive games with them (Canada),” Ellis said. “They’re always a team that’s in the major world events as one of the strongest teams in our region. A lot of players play together on league teams, but I think there’s a really strong rivalry between the two countries when it comes to women’s football.”
Few, however, have been able to stick with the Americans lately.
The reigning Concacaf and World Cup champion, the U.S. registered its sixth consecutive shutout Sunday and has now not conceded an opposing goal in 698 consecutive minutes, a streak dating back to a 1-1 draw with Australia on July 29 in East Hartford, Connecticut, during the Tournament of Nations.
Sunday’s win against Jamaica runs the current U.S. unbeaten streak to 25 matches. The U.S., which is now 15-0-2 in 2018 and has allowed just 10 goals this year, last lost July 27, 2017, 1-0 to Australia in the Tournament of Nations at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
“I just think overall, our positioning, our ball movement, our tempo throughout the tournament has been really good,” Ellis said. “It doesn’t matter who we are playing. It’s really about challenging ourselves to get better in every game. I feel like we’re making a lot of progress.”
As for its latest trip to the World Cup, the U.S. looks to be the tournament’s second-ever repeat titleholder. Germany won back-to-back tournaments in 2003 and 2007 before finishing second in 2011.
Stephen Hunt is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.