USWNT beats Costa Rica to set up CONCACAF Women's Championship final against Canada

The United States women's national team beat Costa Rica 3-0 on Thursday to advance to the finals of the CONCACAF Women's Championship in Monterrey, Mexico, where it will face Canada in a rematch of the teams' Olympic semifinal last summer.

Having already clinched a spot in the 2023 Women's World Cup by reaching the tournament's semifinals, the Americans are now in line to secure a spot in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris if they can win the W Championship on Monday night.

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The USWNT lost 1-0 to eventual gold medalists Canada in the semifinals of the COVID-19-delayed 2020 Olympics held last summer in Tokyo.

The U.S. kept Costa Rica under pressure throughout the opening half-hour and finally scored its first goal when Emily Sonnett poked the ball over the line following a mad scramble in front of the net.

Rose Lavelle's clever back-heel pass into the area gave Mallory Pugh clear sight of the Costa Rica goal just before halftime, and the U.S. No. 9 made no mistake with her finish to stake Vlatko Andonovski's side to a 2-0 lead at the break.

USWNT players celebrate after scoring a goal against Costa Rica in the CONCACAF W Championship.
USWNT players celebrate after scoring a goal against Costa Rica in the CONCACAF W Championship.
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Sophia Smith missed a stellar chance just before the 60-minute mark, shooting wide from close range after some good build-up play by the U.S. down the left flank.

Ashley Sanchez added the third goal for the USWNT in second-half stoppage time. The USWNT will next play Canada, who beat Jamaica 3-0 in the other semifinal, in the CONCACAF W Championship decider on Monday night.

The United States have won the past two World Cups, but they're heading into next summer's tournament in Australia and New Zealand with a different look. Andonovski has focused on developing young talent since winning the bronze medal at last year's Olympics, and up-and-coming players, including Smith and Pugh, have cracked the starting lineup.

A few veterans remain, including Alex Morgan and Becky Sauerbrunn, who both started Thursday. Morgan had the team's best chances early on with one of her opportunities, a left-footed shot, going wide left in the 13th minute.

For Costa Rica, Noelia Bermudez made the first start of the tournament in goal. Costa Rica won its first two group-stage matches before falling to Canada 2-0 on Monday.

In addition to the four direct berths in the World Cup, the third-place finishers in the two groups at the W Championship, Panama and Haiti, advanced to an intercontinental playoff in February in New Zealand.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.