USWNT beats Jamaica, nears ’23 World Cup spot

Sophia Smith scored twice in the opening minutes and the U.S. women’s national team booked a spot in the 2023 World Cup with a 5-0 victory over Jamaica on Thursday in the CONCACAF W Championship in Monterrey, Mexico.

With two victories at the W Championship, the United States leads its group and will head to next summer’s World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The Americans clinched a spot following Haiti’s 3-0 win over Mexico later Thursday. The United States has played in every World Cup, winning the last two tournaments and four overall.

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Smith scored her first in the fifth minute, then added another goal in the eighth. She has eight career international goals. Rose Lavelle scored in the 59th minute and Kristie Mewis added a goal in the 83rd. Some three minutes later Trinity Rodman scored her second international goal.

“Obviously, being a young player on this team, it can be a little bit intimidating, but I think I’ve found my confidence and I’ve just felt I can be myself on the field,” Smith said. “That’s just what I’ve been doing and my team has been super supportive of that.”

Megan Rapinoe was not available for the match because she was at the White House on Thursday to receive the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. The United States defeated Haiti 3-0 in the opening match of the tournament, while Jamaica defeated Mexico 1-0. The Americans will face Mexico and the Reggae Girlz will face Haiti in their final group matches on Monday.

“We didn’t play well,” Jamaica coach Lorne Donaldson said. “You’re not going to play the world’s champ and play that bad and expect anything to come out of the game. We weren’t good.”

Eight teams were playing in the W Championship, divided into two groups. The top two teams in each group qualify for the World Cup. The two third-place teams will advance to a 10-team intercontinental playoff in New Zealand in February.

The winner of the W Championship will also qualify for the 2024 Olympics.

Canada, Costa Rica, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago are in the other group.


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