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CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Semifinals: 10 Bold Predictions

Goalkeeper Hope Solo #1 of USA warms up on the field during play between Puerto Rico during CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying at Toyota Stadium on February 15, 2016 in Frisco, Texas. February 15, 2016| Credit: Ronald Martinez
CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Semifinals: 10 Bold Predictions

You would be hard-pressed to suggest that there would be an upset of earth-shattering proportions when Jill Ellis‘s USA Women’s National Team take on Richard Hood‘s Trinidad and Tobago women’s national team in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The semifinal will take place on Feb. 19, 2016 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Tex. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET. The winner of this match will qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics. The loser of this match…well, let’s just be safe and say that a new manager could be needed.

However, there is massive pressure for the USA to win this game and win it comfortably because Ellis could be sacked if the biggest upset in the history of women’s football since the USA’s loss to Japan in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final is realized. A similar upset happened nearly three decades ago, when the USA’s men faced Trinidad and Tobago at the Hasely Crawford Stadium to determine the final spot in the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy.

Here at the Stoppage Time, we’re convinced that form is going to follow, especially after they took Puerto Rico to the cleaners, and that there will be no shocker in Houston. Here are our 10 Bold Predictions for the match between the USA and Trinidad and Tobago.

  • Shalette Alexander will make at least four saves.
  • Hope Solo will make under four saves.
  • Trinidad and Tobago will not score in this contest.
  • At least 30 fouls will be whistled.
  • Under four cards will be issued.
  • Crystal Dunn will score a brace for the USA.
  • Carli Lloyd will score for the USA.
  • Christen Press will score for the USA.
  • Kelley O’Hara will score for the USA.
  • Alex Morgan will score for the USA.

The scoreline will be the same as the last meeting between the two sides in their Victory Tour. Watch for Crystal Dunn to have a massive year in Brazil later this summer.

USA 6, Trinidad and Tobago 0

The semifinal that you really have to watch is the battle between Canada and Costa Rica, two teams that took part in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Costa Rica shocked Mexico in pool play by the score of 2-1 and is led by Raquel Rodriguez, a Penn State Nittany Lion and the current MAC Hermann Trophy winner on the women’s side.

“We’re very happy that we’re in the semis, but I think the true joy would come if we qualify to the Olympics,” Rodriguez told ESPNW. “Maybe that’s why we didn’t express that much joy, because it was a tough win, first of all, but also that’s not where we’re aiming for.”

“We’ve made sure everyone is focused and on task,” Canada WNT manager John Herdman said. “Every game we play for Canada is important to us and we wanted to go out there with the same sort of intensity and attitude we’ve brought to every game. We’ve had a tournament plan coming in and we’ve been able to stick to that plan in terms of players and rotations and rests, so when we get to game four, and game five, we are in the best space possible.

“Christine (Sinclair) has mentioned a couple of times that we’ve got some real depth in the team. We can take pace off and add pace in, we can take technical quality off and add technical quality in; we can leave world class defenders on the bench and then bring them in. It’s a good place to be and we’ve still got a wider squad who are out there training that aren’t with us (in Houston). It’s getting better and I think it’s testament to the work we’ve put into our EXCEL system at the youth level.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT/4:30 p.m. CT/5:30 p.m. ET. Here are our 10 Bold Predictions for the match between Canada and Costa Rica.

  • Dinnia Diaz will make at least four saves.
  • Erin McLeod will make under four saves.
  • At least 30 fouls will be whistled.
  • Under three cards will be issued.
  • Nichelle Prince will score for Canada.
  • Melissa Tancredi will score for Canada.
  • Rebecca Quinn will score for Canada.
  • Raquel Rodriguez will score for Costa Rica.
  • Janine Beckie will score for Canada.
  • No goals will be scored in second half stoppage time.

Canada will be a bridge too far for Amelia Valverde’s Ticas. The Big Red machine is set to renew its rivalry with the USA in the final on the 21st, but the match will be a bit more closer and competitive. However, fueled by the misery of finishing fourth at last year’s Women’s World Cup in their own back yard, Canada are committed to finding redemption in Rio.

Canada 4, Costa Rica 1

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@joryansalazar

Jo-Ryan Salazar is a writer for The Stoppage Time, a soccer blog powered by Azteca Soccer. A supporter of the Los Angeles Galaxy since 1996 and a committed supporter since 2002, Jo-Ryan also follows Chelsea FC, Melbourne Victory, FC Tokyo and Paris Saint-Germain. Apart from soccer, Jo-Ryan is an administrative assistant for a local nonprofit in Long Beach, California and also does photography, photo-editing and fictional writing.

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