The U.S. women’s national team aims to reach a seventh straight Olympics when it faces Mexico at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., Friday night.
Concacaf’s Olympic qualifying tournament has been the USA’s playground, with the Americans 21-0-1 all-time and outscoring opponents 116-3 in their history. All it takes to ruin that history and keep the U.S. from a summer trip to Tokyo is one loss, though, something that Mexico has delivered on a big stage in the past. In a qualifier for the 2011 Women’s World Cup a decade ago, a famous 2-1 Mexico win nearly cost the U.S. a place in Germany. That remains the only win for Mexico over the U.S., with the two-time reigning Women’s World Cup champs 36-1-1 in all-time matchups.
The USA’s run through the group stage has been paced by a balanced approach, with new manager Vlatko Andonovski rotating his squad heavily in wins vs. Haiti, Panama and Costa Rica. Lindsey Horan leads the U.S. with five goals in the tournament, while Christen Press has four and Lynn Williams, Jessica McDonald and Sam Mewis have two apiece.
The winner will join Canada in taking Concacaf’s berths to Tokyo, where host Japan, Brazil, New Zealand, Sweden, Netherlands and Team Great Britain will also be among the 12-team field.
Stay tuned here for live updates and highlights of goals and key plays from throughout the match (refresh for most recent updates).
Here are the lineups for both teams:
Here are the rosters for both sides:
GOALKEEPERS: Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS: Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals), Emily Sonnett (Orlando Pride)
MIDFIELDERS: Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)
FORWARDS: Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue), Jessica McDonald (North Carolina Courage), Christen Press (Utah Royals), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage)
GOALKEEPERS: Cecilia Santiago (PSV Eindhoven), Emily Alvarado (Texas Christian University), Itzel Gonzalez (Tijuana)
DEFENDERS: Kenti Robles (Atletico Madrid), Janelly Farias (Chivas), Jocelyn Orejel (Tijuana), Jimena Lopez (Texas A&M), Bianca Sierra (Tigres), Mariana Cadena (Monterrey)
MIDFIELDERS: Rebeca Bernal (Monterrey), Stephany Mayor (Tigres), Jacqueline Ovalle (Tigres), Karla Nieto (Pachuca), Diana Evangelista (Monterrey), Liliana Mercado (Tigres), Maria Sanchez (Chivas)
FORWARDS: Daniela Espinosa (Club America), Kiana Palacios (Real Sociedad), Renae Cuellar (Tijuana), Adriana Iturbide (Atlas)