USA-Puerto Rico Takeaways: Dunn joins elite group

The USA entered the year with questions about the depth of its attack, but the first four games of 2016 -- including the first three in the Concacaf Olympic women's qualifying tournament -- have shown off the remarkable variety of the U.S. attackers. That was evident on Monday night when Crystal Dunn tied a U.S. national team record with five goals as the USA routed Puerto Rico, 10-0. The best goal of the night, though, came from outside back Kelley O'Hara, a converted forward.

1. Dunn shows off quickness in the area.

While Dunn has generally been employed on the wing, where she is starting with the absence of injured Megan Rapinoe, she is incredibly dangerous in the penalty area, where she uses his quickness to get free and shoot with either foot. Against Puerto Rico, she scored twice with her right foot and three times with her left.

Dunn, who equaled her career total of international goals in 90 minutes, matched Brandi Chastain, Michelle Akers, Tiffeny Milbrett, Abby Wambach, Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux for the most goals in a game.

With Wambach retired and Rodriguez and Leroux on pregnancy leave, Dunn's scoring touch will be a big part of the U.S. attack in an Olympic year.

Dunn's five goals against Puerto Rico ...

6th minute: Mallory Pugh breaks down the left wing and feeds Dunn, who eludes her defenders and slots the ball home wither right foot.

21st minute: Puerto Rico goalkeeper Karly Gustafson fails to clear Jaelene Hinkle's cross, and Christen Press lays it off for Dunn to score with her left foot.

61st minute: More sloppy play from Puerto Rico allows Alex Morgan to collect the ball and feed Dunn, who scores with her left foot.

82nd minute: From the right side, Meghan Klingenberg finds Dunn, who scores on a volley.

87th minute: Morgan Brian feeds Dunn, who breaks in and scores her fifth goal.

2. O'Hara still has her scoring touch.

O'Hara was a star forward at Stanford -- setting school records for goals (26) and points (65) in 2009 when she led the nation in scoring -- but has spent much of her international career on the U.S. backline.

Her only two goals were the second goal in the 2-0 win over Germany in the 2015 Women's World Cup semifinals -- and a sweet back-heel off a pass from Stephanie McCaffrey to make it 4-0 against Puerto Rico in the 45th minute.

3. Ellis empties bench with semifinal berth assured.

U.S. coach Jill Ellis made eight changes from the team that started the first two matches of Olympic qualifying -- 5-0 win over Costa Rica and 1-0 over Mexico -- and gave Alyssa Naeher, Emily Sonnett, Sam Mewis and McCaffrey their qualifying debuts.

With only 18 spots up for grabs if the USA goes to the Rio Olympics, that means at least two players taking part in Olympic qualifying won't make the team. One of them will be one of the backup keepers. At the moment, Naeher is in competition with Ashlyn Harris for the backup spot behind Hope Solo in goal.

TRIVIA. The USA extended its shutout streak to eight consecutive games in Olympic qualifying, dating back to the final of the 2008 Qualifying tournament when it tied Canada 1-1, winning in penalty kicks, 6-5.

Feb. 15 in Frisco, Texas
USA 10 Puerto Rico 0. Goals: Dunn 6, 21, 61, 85, 87, Lloyd pen. 19, O'Hara 45, own goal 60, Press 60.
USA -- Naeher; O'Hara, Sonnett, Krieger, Hinkle; McCaffrey, Mewis, Lloyd (Morgan, 46), Pugh (Klingenberg, 67); Press (Brian, 74), Dunn.
Puerto Rico -- Gustafson; K.Johnson, Foil (Colon, 46), A.Johnson (Carrion, 55); Pagan (Zaragoza Hernandez, 71), Socarras, Suarez, Mendez; Rivera, Font; Rodriguez.
Att.: 7,658.
6 comments about "USA-Puerto Rico Takeaways: Dunn joins elite group".
  1. John Soares, February 16, 2016 at 2:20 p.m.

    Although young, I think this new group of Dunn,(great instinct) Pugh,(gotta love this kid) McCaffrey, O'Hara, Brian, Press..... Even Hinkle, Sonnett and Mewis(once she settled a little) looked good. YES this was Puerto Rico. However my impression is we have plenty of youngsters ready to step in. It was fun to watch!!!

  2. Bob Ashpole, February 16, 2016 at 5:41 p.m.

    I think it is actually a more difficult game for Puerto Rico when facing 8 new starters. All the US players are out to prove their worth at Puerto Rico's expense. There is no respite like you might see with a side of established starters. I thought Naeher played much better after the first 20 minutes. The entire side showed a lot of character, trying to make a game of it and never quitting. Certainly they were the weakest team in the group, but considering their team's history just being there and competing was a great moment for them. Sort of like the US MNT in 1990.

  3. Bob Ashpole, February 16, 2016 at 5:45 p.m.

    Sorry I should have said Gustafason rather than Naeher, the US keeper.

  4. BJ Genovese, February 16, 2016 at 8:44 p.m.

    Dunn, Mccaffery, Pugh... showed us all what it means to be hungry. Really hungry. They posses skill and cunning. Mccaffery is a lightning bolt. Dunn... deadly. And Pugn plays like she was born to the pitch. I have to credit US soccer for once in there identification. When it comes to the girls they are spot on.

  5. haendel lazo, February 16, 2016 at 8:51 p.m.

    You are right,they are not good on the man side!

  6. Carl Hudson, February 17, 2016 at 9:37 a.m.

    O'Hara, Dunn, Morgan and Press should be the starting Front Four.

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications