USA Women Stroll to the Semifinals Against Haiti
Megan Rapinoe of team USA dribble pass an opponent. USA defeated Haiti 6-0 during a game at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Monday, October 20, 2014. courtesy of Jose Arqueta
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States was not mathematically through to the semifinals when it came time for their final group game. Trinidad and Tobago won the match before to put them in a tie with the US. If the US lost to Haiti by at least two goals, they would miss the semifinals of the CONCACAF tournament. That would be the first time they missed the semis in the tournament (that they participated in).
But this is soccer. Math be damned. With the US women’s team, why worry? Anyone with concerns just needed to see the first ten minutes to put their mind at ease.

The United States was in attack mode all night at RFK. From a free kick on the edge of the box one minute in, it was just a matter of how many chances would go in.

In the end, six found their way into the back of the net. The United States is through to the semifinals after a 6-0 victory.

Carli Lloyd got the scoring started in the 9th minute. A cross to Abby Wambach was pawed by Haitian goalkeeper Geralda Saintilus to Lloyd’s feet. Lloyd just smashed it back on net and in.

Abby Wambach kept pressure up front, with cross after cross going her way. In the 38th minute, she finally got her moment. She headed in a deflected cross to double the score before halftime.

The US got flashy in the second half, with moves that left the Haitian players falling over themselves, a flying header attempt by Sydney Leroux, yes, the US has their swagger back. Not to mention three goals in 10 minutes. Meghan Klingenberg smashed one in from distance, Wambach knocked in a loose ball and Christen Press added the third. Morgan Brian added another in the 82nd minute just for good measure.

Even when Haiti put every player in the box to prevent the onslaught in the second half, it just would not stop.

Team USA celebrates a goal during a 6-0 victory over Haiti at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Monday, October 20, 2014. courtesy of Jose Arqueta
“In the second half I thought we played very well, moved the ball very well, obviously got some great combinations and some really good finishes from different people,” said USA Head Coach Jill Ellis.

Haiti did manage to break the halfway line a few times, but the speed of the women in white forced any chance to get kicked away over 30 yards from goal each and every time. The lone shot that Haiti got on the official score sheet was from over 30 yards out, and flew nearly just as far off to the side.

That left goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, the Washington Spirit goalkeeper in for regular starter Hope Solo, on occasional clean up duty, maybe once every 10 minutes or so. She had just two goal kicks in the game. Despite the lack of stats, she still received tremendous support.

“I’m in my home. These are my people, these are my supporters. These are the people that have been there a long time rooting for me. It’s humbling, it’s honoring, I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before at a national team event,” said Harris.

On the other side of the field, Haitian goalkeeper Geralda Saintilus, could not catch a breather the whole night long. She faced 20 shots, 12 on frame in the ordeal.

This was Harris’ fourth cap, making her the least experienced member of the team.

Though Haiti is going home, there is still hope for the team for the future despite the troubles in their homeland. Haiti Head Coach Leszek Borkowski mentioned that many of his players would show up late to training to take care of family that says there’s no point in doing this. He hopes this tournament proves otherwise.

“There’s too much influence on ‘don’t do it, you’re wasting your time,’” said Borkowski. “But coming to the United States, they recognize there are opportunities. If I can develop as a player, if we can develop as a team, that may open up opportunities for them to play professionally.”

Now it is on to the semifinals for the red, white and blue. With 9 points in hand, the US team won Group 1 and will face the second placed team out of Group 2 on Friday at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. Trinidad and Tobago also qualified for the semifinals after their 2-1 win over Guatemala.