Over the past summer, much of the world turned its attention to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Millions tuned in to watch their nation represent them in the beautiful game. However, one nation that wasn’t represented was the United States.
Just over one year ago, the United States’ World Cup dreams were cut after a devastating 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago. The small island nation stunned the U.S., and for the first time in over 30 years, the United States failed to qualify for the World Cup.
Throughout the month of July, Americans watched as other nations duked it out, with France eventually coming out on top, beating Croatia in a dominant 4-2 game.
Yet, there is still a glimmer of hope for United States soccer fans. For the eighth consecutive time, the U.S. Women’s National Team, the returning champs, qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The United States started the group stage of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship tournament with a match against Mexico on Oct. 4. The U.S. rolled over the Mexican national team, shutting them out in a 6-0 victory. The U.S. came out of the match with an outstanding 91 percent pass accuracy and only allowed the Mexican team to take three shots during the entire match.
The U.S. continued the group stage by playing Panama. With a hat trick from team captain Carli Lloyd, the United States was able to beat Panama 5-0.
In their last match of the group stage, the U.S. took on Trinidad and Tobago. Unlike the men’s team, the women beat the island nation in a landslide 7-0 match.
In the semifinals, the Americans punched their ticket to France against Jamaica. Tobin Heath opened the scoring after just two minutes, as the Americans rolled. With the top three teams from the tournament moving on, the 6-0 victory will see the Americans heading to the World Cup.
The Americans had one more match in the tournament, the final against Canada on Wednesday night in Frisco, Texas.
Despite being the reigning world champions, Jill Ellis’ team has undergone some changes since a disappointing exit from the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
The attacking names are familiar for those who followed the 2015 team in Canada. Alex Morgan still leads the line with Lloyd, Heath and Megan Rapinoe among the attacking midfielders.
Promising talents Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan add more attacking options. Even holding midfielder Julie Ertz, a center back in Canada four years ago, has moved forward to cause opposing defenses more issues.
Offense is the need for the team, and in 2018, the USWNT have averaged over 3.5 goals per game. The team has beaten strong competition in Germany, England, Japan and Brazil.
The Women’s World Cup kicks off June 7.