The U.S. women’s soccer team may have racked up 27 goals in its two Olympic qualifying games to date, but the real business starts tomorrow (Tuesday)with a group deciding clash against Mexico in Vancouver, Canada (10.30 p.m. ET).
A win or tie will put in the U.S.—featuring Indiana’s Lauren Cheney and Lori Lindsey—into the semifinal of the eight team CONCACAF qualifying tournament as group toppers, where it will play either Costa Rica or Canada. The two finalists will progress to the London Olympics, to be held from July 27-August 12.
However, the squad will not easily forget the loss to Mexico in a World Cup qualifying game in 2010.
That defeat forced head coach Pia Sundhage’s charges into a playoff against Italy to make it to Germany, which they succeeded in winning before progressing all the way to the final, only to fall to Japan.
“We won’t talk much about 2010,” Sundhage said yesterday. “This is 2012 and we want to qualify for the Olympics. It will be a hard to choose a lineup. We have some decisions to make and many players have been playing well out there.”
The U.S. beat Domincian Republic 14-0 Friday, followed by a 13-0 success against Guatemala Sunday.
In the latter matchup, Abby Wambach scored twice to move her into third on the career goals list for women’s international soccer with 129. At the moment she trails fellow Americans Mia Hamm (158) and Kristine Lilly (130).
However, most of the talk was about newcomer Sydney Leroux, who scored five times as a second half substitute for Wambach, tying the U.S. record for most goals in a game.
Lori Lindsey, meanwhile, scored her first goal for the women’s national team. The Indianapolis native, who plays for WPS outfit Philidelphia Independence, described it as “fun.”
“It’s always fun to contribute to that so I’m excited,” said the former Pike High School student. “I’m 128 goals behind Abby so I feel like she should be getting a little nervous. I’m right on her heels.”
The semifinals will take place on Friday, with the final being staged on Sunday at 8 p.m.
*Tuesday’s Mexico game is available live on the Universal Sports Network, via online video at Universalsports.com and CONCACAF.com, or you can follow it via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.