The United States women's national soccer team defeated Costa Rica 3-0 on Thursday to advance to the CONCACAF W Championship final thanks to goals from Emily Sonnett, Mallory Pugh and Ashley Sanchez.
Sonnett scored the game-winner in the 34th minute after Costa Rica failed to clear a corner kick. The Washington Spirit star swooped in during a scramble and knocked home her first-ever goal for the national team.
Sonnett, a uber-talented defender who helped the Spirit win its first-ever NWSL title this past season, appeared in 68 matches for the national team before Thursday. She picked a great time for her first goal, and that ended up being the decider.
Pugh added an insurance goal in the first half's final moments (45+3) to put the U.S. up 2-0 going into the break.
Concacaf W @ConcacafW
⚽ Great assist by <a href="https://twitter.com/roselavelle?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@roselavelle</a> to <a href="https://twitter.com/MalPugh?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MalPugh</a> to make it 2-0 for the <a href="https://twitter.com/USWNT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@USWNT</a>! 🇺🇸<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CWC?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CWC</a> <a href="https://t.co/3bXLjyCInw">pic.twitter.com/3bXLjyCInw</a>
Sophia Smith created a turnover in Costa Rica's end, and the loose ball found its way to Rose Lavelle, who backheeled a pass to Pugh before the eventual goalscorer fired a rocket into the back of the net.
It was a tremendous effort, with Lavelle's excellent pass (and overall performance) leading to compliments.
Alexandre Gangué-Ruzic @AlexGangueRuzic
Oh my days, the US have their second, and it's a beauty. Rose Lavelle has made a ridiculous backheel through ball, and Mallory Pugh has buried home on the breakaway<br><br>Lavelle, as usual, is a force in the US midfield. Always running the show in that area when she's on her game
Sanchez, who got onto the pitch as a substitute in the 63rd minute, earned the United States' third and final goal at the tail end of the second half's stoppage time (90+5).
Alex Morgan corralled a ball booted into the box, and it found its way to Sanchez, who finished the job.
The United States outshot Costa Rica 15-2 (7-0 shots on goal). The Americans also possessed the ball 64 percent of the time.
The USWNT had already secured a 2023 World Cup berth by virtue of finishing top two in its group during single round-robin play.
The Americans finished atop Group A with a 3-0 record and 9-0 goal differential. Jamaica (second in Group A), Canada (first in Group B) and Costa Rica (second in Group B) also advanced to the World Cup.
Haiti and Panama, which finished third in Groups A and B, respectively, will advance to inter-confederation playoffs for a shot at a World Cup berth.
For now, the United States will look for its ninth CONCACAF title in 11 tries when the Americans face the winner of the Canada vs. Jamaica matchup in the final on Monday at Estadio BBVA in Guadalupe, Mexico.
The final winner will simultaneously qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics and the 2024 CONCACAF W Gold Cup.