By Gavin Day
The onslaught started just 38 seconds in and didn’t let up for the rest of the 90 minutes as the United States came out flying and flattened their ill-fated opponents. Abby Wambach got that first goal and one other as the U.S. began its qualification campaign for the 2012 Olympics with a 14-0 drubbing over the Dominican Republic.
Carli Lloyd netted the team’s second just moments before the four minute mark. A U.S. cross missed everyone and came back off the post and Lloyd was there to tuck in from close range before Rachel Buehler converted off a Lauren Cheney corner kick.
After the third, the Americans were forced to wait for their fourth, but not for long. Heather O’Reilly was played through on the right side and she scored to make it four in the 17th minute and Wambach added another just two minutes later.
“Soccer is an amazing sport and there’s all different levels of competition all around the world. Obviously the score makes people feel like it wasn’t even a competition,” explained Wambach. “We, as a team, feel like we have so many things we need to work on. This was a game that gave us the opportunity to work on some things.”
Tobin Heath got the U.S. back on the score sheet on the half hour mark. Heath nicely controlled a chip pass from O’Reilly and had acres of space to put the ball away.
O’Reilly then started and then finished a give-and-go move not even a minute later. She got her second after feeding a pass to Cheney before receiving the through ball on the right side.
“This is the best team I’ve had since 2008,” said U.S. coach Pia Sundhage, who drew some criticism for continuing to overly celebrate American goals, even when the Americans were over the double-digit mark.
With precisely one minute on the clock in the second half, Amy Rodriguez, who came on at the half, tapped in a Cheney cross from close range and the Americans were off once again.
Just minutes later Rodriguez scored another cross from Cheney, this time from the left, and with not even five minutes into the second half, the U.S. broke the record for the most goals in a final round Olympic qualifying game with their ninth.
Rodriguez completed her hat-trick in the 59th minute to make it three goals in 13 minutes for the forward. More than anything, the goals came from defensive mistakes which really highlighted the gulf in talent between the nations.
“It wasn’t just me. It was my teammates helping me get there. I felt really strong today. I’m glad we could open this tournament with a big bang,” said Rodriguez, who tied the United States record for most goals in a game with five.
After setting up four, Cheney scored one of her own when she completed a cross from O’Reilly to make it 11 in the 64th minute. Rodriguez added her fourth, this time from long range in the 70th minute.
Once again Rodriguez scored in the 75th minute for her fifth of the match. Rodriguez was played in all by herself and the Dominicans were just hoping the final whistle would arrive soon. Unfortunately it wasn’t going to come for another while yet and O’Reilly tapped in a cross from close range to round out the scoring in the 78th minute.
The U.S. amassed a total of 49 shots over the game with 25 on target. Conversely, the Dominican Republic team countered with just a single shot on target.
The one worry for the Americans is the status of Alex Krieger. Krieger took a kick to the outside of her right knee in the first half and looked in a great deal of pain. She was replaced and was later seen on crutches with an ice pack on her knee.
The U.S. staff is saying that is does seem to be a serious knee injury.
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