USA-Costa Rica Takeaways: U.S. thirtysomethings romp

The USA wrapped up a two-game series against Costa Rica to open its Victory Tour with a 7-2 win in front of a record crowd of 20,535 at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn. The U.S. women were already leading 2-0 in the 15th minute when lightning caused a delay of 83 minutes. By the 31st minute, it was 6-0.

1. The thirtysomethings aren't ready to hang it up.

Carli Lloyd, 33, Heather O'Reilly, 30, and Abby Wambach, 35, combined for the first five U.S. goals in the first 23 minutes.

USA-Costa Rica: Highlights

Lloyd scored the first goal with a free kick from 30 yards that deflected off a Costa Rican defender in the wall and hit the woodwork before bouncing into the goal. She helped set up the next two goals scored by O'Reilly and Wambach and scored the fourth goal herself before Wambach set up O'Reilly for the fifth.

Lloyd is expected to be back for the Olympic push, while Wambach has not indicated if she wants to return for another year. O'Reilly, who has four goals in the two Victory Tour matches, was rarely used by U.S. coach Jill Ellis before and during the Women's World Cup and is one of the players on the bubble as the U.S. squad will have to be reduced from 23 players for the World Cup to 18 for the Olympics.

2. Alex Morgan is back after knee surgery.

Concerns that Morgan, who has bothered by injuries in recent years, might again have another long layoff after knee surgery in July were alleviated as she made her first appearance since the Women's World Cup, coming on in the 56th minute and scoring the final U.S. goal after Costa Rica had reduced a 6-0 lead to 6-2.

Morgan underwent arthroscopic surgery on her right knee less than a month ago. It had been her left knee that bothered her and sidelined her for two months before the Women's World Cup.

3. Heath's move into the middle could become permanent.

The unsung member of the U.S. midfield that was so dominant in the final stages of the Women's World Cup was Tobin Heath. She played on the right wing in Canada but played in central midfield for the two games against Costa Rica.

With Lauren Holiday retiring, a spot in the middle will open up. The USA has more options on the outside -- Kelley O'Hara and Crystal Dunn, the NWSL's runaway scoring leader -- than in the middle, so Heath's move could become permanent.

TRIVIA. Costa Rica's two goals were the first the Ticas have ever scored against the USA in 12 meetings, all U.S. wins.

Aug. 19 in Chattanooga, Tenn.
USA 7 Costa Rica 2. Goals: Lloyd 7, 20, O'Reilly 13, 23, Wambach 18, own goal 31, Morgan 81; Granados 41, J.Villalobos 69.
USA -- Solo (Naeher, 46); O'Hara, Engen, Sauerbrunn, Chalupny, O'Reilly (Rodriguez, 46), Holiday, Heath (Boxx, 64), Rapinoe (Klingenberg, 46), Lloyd (Press, 46); Wambach (Morgan, 56)
Costa Rica -- Diaz (Salas, 78); F.Villalobos (Guillen, 67), Saenz, Acosta, Benavides (Coto, 86),  Elizondo (D.Cruz, 63), Alvarado, Granados, Herrera, Venegas, K.Villalobos (Almazan, 74).
Referee: Margaret Domka (USA).
Att.: 20,535.
Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications