Equalizer Soccer http://womens.soccerly.com The No. 1 Source for Women's Professional Soccer News Thu, 23 Oct 2014 05:31:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 WATCH: Klingenberg discusses incredible golazo http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/22/watch-video-meghan-klingenberg-incredible-goal-uswnt-vs-haiti/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/22/watch-video-meghan-klingenberg-incredible-goal-uswnt-vs-haiti/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 03:10:56 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17080 Meghan Klingenberg scored the goal of a lifetime on Monday against Haiti on a screaming effort that zipped into the back of the net to help the U.S. women on their way to a 6-0 win.

On Tuesday, a still ecstatic Klingenberg — and her teammates — discussed the magical moment.

“As soon as it hit my foot I’m like ‘Oh my God, that’s perfect.’ I couldn’t believe it; it was awesome,” the 26-year-old left back said.

There have been a handful of spectacular goals in the surprisingly competitive CONCACAF Women’s Championship, including Tuesday’s bicycle kick by Costa Rica forward Carolina Venegas. Which one do you think was more impressive?

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Nigeria returns to World Cup; Cameroon qualifies for first time http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/22/nigeria-cameroon-qualify-2015-womens-world-cup/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/22/nigeria-cameroon-qualify-2015-womens-world-cup/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:16:03 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17077 Nigeria is headed to the World Cup for a seventh straight time. (Photo Courtesy: CAF)

Nigeria is headed to the World Cup for a seventh straight time. (Photo Courtesy: CAF)

Nigeria is headed to a seventh World Cup and Cameroon qualified for its first-ever World Cup on Wednesday with semifinal victories in the African Women’s Championship.

Nigeria is the only African team and one of only seven teams worldwide to qualify for every Women’s World Cup in history. The Super Falcons qualified for Canada 2015 with a 2-1 win over South Africa. Asisat Oshoala, who won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball at this summer’s U-20 World Cup — where Nigeria lost to Germany in the final — scored both goals for the senior team on Wednesday.

Cameroon dramatically defeated Ivory Coast in extra time to clinch a berth. Captain Christine Manie scored in the 118th minute on a header off a corner kick. Gaelle Enganamouit opened the scoring for Cameroon in the 60th minute, but the lead lasted only six minutes before Ines Tia found an equalizer. Manie scored two minutes before the end of extra time to prevent penalty kicks.

Cameroon will play Nigeria in Saturday’s final. South Africa and Ivory Coast also play Saturday in the third-place match for Africa’s third and final spot at the 2015 World Cup. Neither South Africa nor Ivory Coast has played in a Women’s World Cup.

South Africa and Cameroon played at the 2012 London Olympics, shockingly qualifying over Nigeria, who had to watch from home.

Seventeen of the 24 World Cup berths are now secured, with four more to be determined this week (one more from CAF and three from CONCACAF).

Qualified thus far are: Canada (host), Brazil, Colombia, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, England, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Cameroon, Nigeria.

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Already-qualified Canada set to host Japan http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/22/qualified-canada-host-japan/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/22/qualified-canada-host-japan/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 20:14:58 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17075 John Herdman's Canada team may have sat out the qualifying event but they will host Japan twice starting Saturday in Edmonton. (Photo Harjeet Johal for The Equalizer)

John Herdman’s Canada team may have sat out the qualifying event but they will host Japan twice starting Saturday in Edmonton. (Photo Harjeet Johal for The Equalizer)

While the United States has enjoyed a relatively simple run through the qualifying event for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, there is at least one country that has it even easier: Canada. As soon as the event was awarded to the Great White North, Canada was guaranteed a spot in the expanded field of 24. So while the U.S. and the rest of CONCACAF have been duking it out for the last week, Canada has been sitting it out.

In lieu of qualifying, Canada will host the world champions from Japan this Saturday in Edmonton and again next Tuesday in Vancouver. It is a route the team hopes to take again in July since the winner of Canada’s Group A will have would play its semifinal in Edmonton with the final in Vancouver.

“It comes with pros and cons,” Canada head coach John Herdman said of his team sitting out qualifying. “My experience is with the tournament for the Olympic Games and it typically comes down to two games. And then the pressure of those two games and what you learn about the team in those times, you don’t get back.”

At the same time, had Canada been part of what is being called the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, they would have been heavily favored to go through while playing several inferior opponents. And while a longer qualifying phase is likely needed for the minnows to truly catch up to the power teams, Herdman is relishing his team’s opportunity to take on the world champions.

“When you’re this close to the event you need to know how close you are to the real Thoroughbreds,” Herdman said while ticking off Canada’s 2014 schedule that has included the U.S., Germany, England, and now Japan. “We’ll certainly have our measuring stick out and hopefully the gap isn’t too big that we can’t make it up by the time we get there.”

In the nascent world of women’s soccer only European nations play stand-alone World Cup qualifiers. The other regions do as CONCACAF does by either doubling up continental championships or putting on short tournaments that decide every qualifier in a short period of time. The European model benefits the weaker teams, but says Herdman, it does not necessarily make for better matches or preparation for the big guns.

“Until the gap really closes, the challenge you’ve got is the meaningful games. If you were to ask the Germans how many of their (qualifiers) were meaningful, most of the games they scored eight plus goals. And they conceded maybe six goals throughout the whole qualifying (they actually outscored their opponents 62-4 and scored 8 goals on four occasions out of 10). And then they have to go off and play the USA and Canada in friendly matches which is a completely different style and approach.

“If you look at Canada, we can put destiny in our hands, we can target the type of teams we play each year. We can go and play Asian teams or we can play European teams. That’s the beauty of not being tied down to the European type structure.”

The matches against Japan may not carry the same sort of intensity as Tuesday night’s, must-win showdown between Mexico and Jamaica, but as Herdman points out, how much could Germany really have taken away from beating Slovenia 13-0 last October.

Herdman said he has 33 players in the running for the World Cup roster, and 20 of those will be available for the two matches against Japan. While acknowledging that a few of the staples of the club are practically locks to make the World Cup roster, he suggested that every position remains up for the taking between now and the June 6 kickoff to the World Cup. And he stressed that Canada is still in need of improvement if they are to be good enough to win it all next summer.

“You may see some of the big faces that have always played be pushed out by players that have really committed to this period that we have to prep. Every place is up for grabs, that’s for sure. The only way you’re getting in to this team is if you’ve got the ability to help us win the World Cup.”

The 39-year old Englishman who will be coaching his first World Cup said the 2015 Canadian side will be a strong mix of old guard and young blood. “We’ve got two groups of players together now. We’ve got this younger generation and we’ve got an older generation. Those (older players) are three years older now from the Olympic Games (in 2012 when Canada won the bronze medal) and some of them are passing their physical peak. So we have to be really careful about how we prep them. And then we’ve got a younger group that is just gung ho and bullet proof. Bringing that group together is always a challenge; to get the chemistry right and connect around a common mission of what we’re trying to achieve as a team.”

Herdman’s first major tournament was the 2012 Olympics during which Canada played inspired soccer and came within minutes of upsetting the United States and playing for the gold medal. He said the team rallied around a common connection that got stronger as the tournament went on and that the current team is working on and off the field to see to it a similar connection peaks next summer.

“We’re making as much opportunity of the time we’ve got to do the things that Canada needs to do to get us ready for (the World Cup.)

NOTES

HERDMAN ON CHRISTINE SINCLAIR AND HER SUBSTANDARD NWSL SEASON: Christine is just one of those players that every day she comes to training and she’s world class in every training session. And if you go watch her play when she plays for Portland, she’s still doing the right things. The main thing for Christine, particularly with our team bringing a Melissa Tancredi back into the lineup, I’m sure we’ll be providing her with more opportunities to score goals. I’ve never seen a change in her.”

HERDMAN ON PLAYING THE WORLD CUP ON TURF: I think it’s fair to say the World Cup is on turf. I think everyone knew that when Canada took the World Cup. We’ll be ready for it. We’ll be sure to take advantage of what our country provides us and we’re excited. We’re excited to play in whatever stadium is put out there. And what we know is we’ll get a consistent surface. That’s all you need as players.

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WATCH: Venegas’ world-class bicycle kick http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/22/watch-venegas-world-class-bicycle-kick/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/22/watch-venegas-world-class-bicycle-kick/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:56:21 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17070 There have been a handful of world-class goals in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, and three of them came on Tuesday night. Costa Rica cruised past Martinique, and the 6-1 victory was capped off by this incredible Carolina Venegas bicycle kick in stoppage time:

The moment was captured brilliantly by our photographer, Erica McCaulley (@erimacphoto on Twitter):

(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

(Hat tip to @endubs_rn)

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PHOTOS: Costa Rica, Mexico win to end group play http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/22/photos-costa-rica-mexico-win-to-end-group-play/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/22/photos-costa-rica-mexico-win-to-end-group-play/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:58:02 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17096 Costa Rica defeated Martinique — but not without an inspirational consolation goal for Martinique — and Mexico defeated Jamaica in a winner-take-all game to advance to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship. Read the recaps and watch the highlights here and here. Erica McCaulley (@EriMacPhoto) presents the matches in photos:

(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley)

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Mexico tops Jamaica, sets up semifinal with USWNT http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/21/mexico-beats-jamaica-concacaf-championship-advances-semifinals-uswnt/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/21/mexico-beats-jamaica-concacaf-championship-advances-semifinals-uswnt/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 01:31:36 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17060

Mexico is headed to the semifinals. (USA Today Images)

Stephany Mayor celebrates her goal against Jamaica. Mexico is headed to the semifinals to play the United States. (USA Today Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mexico defeated Jamaica, 3-1 on Tuesday at RFK Stadium to advance out of Group B and to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, where Mexico will meet the United States on Friday. Jamaica is eliminated with the loss.

Mexico and the United States will meet in a World Cup qualifying semifinal for the second straight time. Four years ago on home soil, Mexico shocked the No. 1 ranked Americans, beating them 2-1 in Mexico to clinch a World Cup berth and force the U.S. into a playoff with Italy. The U.S. was the last of 16 teams to qualify for the 2011 World Cup, eventually losing to Japan in the final.

But history shows the result was an anomaly. Mexico has managed only one win — that 2011 triumph, the program’s shining moment — and a tie in 31 all-time meetings with the United States. The Americans shut out Mexico in each of their last five meetings, including 8-0 and 4-0 wins over Mexico in September.

And in 2010 there were only two direct qualifying spots available for the 16-team World Cup. The 2015 World Cup will be the first to feature 24 teams, meaning there are three direct qualification spots available from CONCACAF (not including Canada, an automatic qualifier as host). The fourth-place team from North and Central America will play Ecuador in a two-leg playoff. Group B winner Costa Rica will play Trinidad & Tobago in Friday’s other semifinal.

[MORE: Jamaica restarts program, funded by Bob Marley's daughter  |  More on Mexico]

Jamaica had to beat Mexico on Tuesday in order to advance, since Mexico held the tiebreaker of a superior goal difference. A tie would have been enough for Mexico to advance.

Donnakay Henry put Jamaica ahead in the 14th minute on a world-class, curling shot that tucked into the upper corner. That gave Jamaica the early lead it needed, but it also opened up the game for Mexico as La Tri pushed for an equalizer.

Stephany Mayor tied the game 15 minutes later on a tap-in after Jamaica goalkeeper Nicole McClure spilled the ball in front of net. Monica Ocampo should have given Mexico the lead heading into the break, but her shot from inside the six-yard box in first-half stoppage time went off the crossbar. Veronica Perez also sent a screaming 30-yard free kick toward the upper corner before halftime, a shot that forced a big save from McClure.

Mexico took control of the match in the second half. Alina Garciamendez’s header deflected off Jamaican defender Monique Pryce, nearly resulting in an own goal in the 50th minute, and Perez continued to get opportunities from the run of play.

Veronica Corral finally put Mexico ahead on a stunning volley in the 60th minute, and she scored again in the 76th minute to ice the game and seal Mexico’s spot in the semifinals.

Mexico is seeking a third World Cup berth, having qualified in 1999 and 2011.

141021_CONCACAF-semis

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Costa Rica thumps Martinique for perfect group record http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/21/costa-rica-beats-martinique-for-perfect-concacaf-record/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/21/costa-rica-beats-martinique-for-perfect-concacaf-record/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 23:14:28 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17057

Costa Rica cruised past Martinique to stay perfect in the tournament. (USA Today Images)

Costa Rica cruised past Martinique to stay perfect in the tournament. (USA Today Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Costa Rica ended group play at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship with a perfect record after beating Martinique, 6-1 at a rain-soaked RFK Stadium on Tuesday.

Costa Rica finishes the group stage of the Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament with three victories and will play Trinidad and Tobago in the semifinal on Friday outside Philadelphia. The top three teams from the tournament qualify directly for the 2015 World Cup, with the fourth-place finisher playing Ecuador in a two-leg playoff on Nov. 8 and Dec. 2.

[MORE: T&T determined for World Cup berth]

Raquel Rodriguez scored two goals almost immediately after checking into the game in the 79th minute and Carolina Venegas added a brace of her own, scoring her second goal on a bicycle kick in the 90th minute. Venegas’ second goal:

Fabiola Sanchez opened the scoring for Costa Rica in the 7th minute on a header off a corner kick and Wendy Acosta also added a goal after the half-hour mark.

Martinique leaves the tournament with 22 goals against and one goal for, but it’s one the players will remember. Prisca Carin buried the 1-v-1 opportunity in the 62nd minute to give Martinique a bright spot. She almost scored again in the 77th minute, skipping a slow-rolling 1-v-1 shot off the post.

Martinique is not eligible to make the World Cup since it is not a FIFA sanctioned nation, since it’s an overseas region of France. Martinique is, however, recognized by CONCACAF and thus can play in regional events.

By winning Group B, Costa Rica avoids the United States — the Group A winner — in the semifinals, where a win clinches a World Cup berth.

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Despite adversity, T&T on verge of World Cup berth http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/21/trinidad-tobago-concacaf-championship-financial-struggles/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/21/trinidad-tobago-concacaf-championship-financial-struggles/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:50:59 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17052 Trinidad & Tobago is one win away from being the first Caribbean nation to qualify for a Women's World Cup. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Trinidad & Tobago is one win away from being the first Caribbean nation to qualify for a Women’s World Cup. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — When the final whistle blew in the U.S. women’s national team’s 6-0 win over Haiti on Monday, the happiest team at RFK Stadium likely wasn’t on the field. The win by the U.S. secured once and for all Trinidad and Tobago’s second-place finish in Group A. Now the team that literally didn’t know where its next meal was coming from two weeks ago is one win away from securing a spot in next year’s World Cup. The Soca Princesses will play Costa Rica this Friday in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship semifinals.

About two hours before the United States’ win, Trinidad and Tobago head coach Randy Waldrum said he is happy with his team’s performance through the first stage of the tournament following his team’s 2-1 win over Guatemala.

[PHOTOS: Trinidad & Tobago top Guatemala, qualify for semifinals]

Waldrum said that he was “really, really excited for the players,” adding that he was especially proud of goalkeeper Tanesha Palmer, who had to step in for the suspended Kimika Forbes.

T&T coach Randy Waldrum, who isn't paid by the federation, is proud of his team's performance thus fra at the CONCACAF Women's Championship. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

T&T coach Randy Waldrum, who isn’t paid by the federation, is proud of his team’s performance thus fra at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

“I think the girls wanted to win this one for themselves, win it for Kimika and Tanesha. I thought handled things nicely,” Waldrum said.

While the financial woes the team has faced have been widely documented, the team has also had to deal with missing key players or having their availability limited throughout its tournament run. Aside from Forbes’ suspension, Waldrum named four players – Karyn Forbes, Ayana Russell, Tasha St. Louis and Janine Francois, that were dealing with injuries. Waldrum is happy with the way his players dealt with the adversity and he believes having the next couple of days off will help get those players ready for the next stage.

“We’ve really been a patchwork team throughout this first group stage. I’m really pleased with the changes that we’ve made and the players that have stepped up,” Waldrum said.

Kennya Cordner, who was scored the first goal for Trinidad and Tobago Monday night and earned the eventual game-winning penalty kick, gave insight on the team’s mindset.

“We put a block between that and said, ‘this is us over here,'” Cordner said of the team’s off-field struggles. “We can’t study that part of life is there and we have to focus on us and we have to show the world even if we have this problem, here, there and everywhere, we are going to qualify. The struggles is just a stepping stone in life. We have to overcome it. So with all the injuries and financial disappointment, whatever, we, the girls on the national team are just like, we got to stick together and play for each other. Go out there and fight for this with or without any financial support.”

Although the Soca Princesses are excited to be moving on in the tournament, the team has a lot more they want to accomplish. When asked what her first thought would be when the U.S. won its game and thereby ensuring Trinidad and Tobago’s second-place finish in the group, Cordner spoke very simply.

“Beat Costa Rica, qualify for the World Cup. That’s our main goal.”

No Caribbean nation has ever qualified for a Women’s World Cup. If Trinidad and Tobago are unable to beat Costa Rica on Friday, they can still clinch a World Cup spot in the 3rd-place game on Sunday. If the team secures a spot in the World Cup, Trinidad and Tobago’s triumph over adversity will no doubt be the most memorable story of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship.

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PHOTOS: Trinidad & Tobago into WCQ semifinals http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/21/photos-trinidad-tobago-concacaf-championship/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/21/photos-trinidad-tobago-concacaf-championship/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:21:22 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17050 Trinidad & Tobago are into the CONCACAF Women’s Championship semifinals and guaranteed at least a playoff with Ecuador to get to the World Cup, if not a direct berth. It would be an ultimate Cinderella story, and even getting to this point has T&T — whose struggles are well noted — elated. A picture is worth a thousand words:

(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
Trinidad & Tobago is one win away from being the first Caribbean nation to qualify for a Women's World Cup. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
T&T coach Randy Waldrum, who isn't paid by the federation, is proud of his team's performance thus fra at the CONCACAF Women's Championship. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

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PHOTOS: USWNT cruises past Haiti in WCQ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/21/photos-uswnt-haiti-concacaf-championship/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/21/photos-uswnt-haiti-concacaf-championship/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:55:39 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17036 The United States was far from perfect in Monday’s 6-0 win over Haiti, but there was finally some confidence and dominance to the team’s play, characteristics that lacked in the opening two matches.

Highlights (with THAT Meghan Klingenberg goal) and the recap can be found here. Here are photos of the match, from the talented Erica McCaulley:

(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)
(Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

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