Watch the highlights of goals and key plays as the U.S. and Canada play for the 2018 Concacaf Women's Championship.

By Avi Creditor
October 17, 2018

Both the U.S. women's national team and Canada have secured their places in the 2019 Women's World Cup, but the regional bragging rights belong to the Americans again.

Rose Lavelle scored early, Alex Morgan scored late and the U.S. defense held up for its fifth consecutive clean sheet in the Concacaf Women's Championship, as Jill Ellis's side beat Canada 2-0 to win the 2018 title.

The two France-bound powers had combined to win all previous seven editions of the Concacaf Women's Championship, with the U.S. is winning its sixth title overall and Canada remaining stuck on two. Regardless of the result Wednesday, they had both secured their automatic tickets to the World Cup by virtue of their semifinal routs, with the USA thrashing Jamaica, 6-0, and Canada doing one better, beating Panama, 7-0. They'll be joined in France by Jamaica, which clinched its first Women's World Cup berth ever by edging Panama in penalty kicks in the third-place match.

The U.S. has had Canada's number on the big stage, though, famously winning a 2012 Olympic semifinal thriller and a 2004 Olympic quarterfinal, both of which went to extra time. Wednesday's match, while considerably closer than any other challenge the U.S. faced in the tournament, was in the hosts' control from the start. 

The U.S., just as it had done all tournament, started on fire. Lavelle capitalized after a poor clearance, curling in a ball from 20 yards in the second minute to seize an early 1-0 lead.

Megan Rapinoe nearly doubled the lead in the 18th minute after Kelley O'Hara sprung her into space down the left-hand side. The veteran winger curled her right-footed chance just wide of the far post, though, keeping it 1-0.

Canada nearly equalized six minutes later off a set piece. Center back star Kadeisha Buchanan was first to a free kick, heading down a ball that was earmarked to tuck inside the left post, but U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher made a reactive, diving save to tip the ball around the post for a corner.

The U.S. pushed for a second before the half, and it nearly came in the 43rd minute. Tobin Heath delivered a great cross from the right toward the far post, where Morgan was given space for a header. She put her close-range chance over the bar, though, and the teams went into the halftime break with the U.S. leading by one.

A cagey match unfolded from that point on, with clear-cut chances hard to come by, though Rapinoe did put a speculative blast on frame in the 68th minute. It forced Stephanie Labbe into a diving save, and nothing came off the ensuing corner despite a loose ball sequence in the box.

Another close call came in the 80th minute, when Crystal Dunn pushed forward and found Morgan by the near post, where she turned and tried to find the target. Her chance trickled by the far post, though, leaving the U.S. in search of its insurance strike. Upon replay, if Morgan had let Dunn's ball go through, Heath was completely unmarked by the far post and would've been facing an empty net.

Morgan finally got the insurance strike in the 88th minute. It came off a corner kick, with a clearance falling to Dunn at the top of the box. She sprayed it wide left for Lindsey Horan, who crossed to Morgan, who appeared to be in an offside position. The flag stayed down, though, and Morgan finished from in close, giving her 24 goals in her last 24 U.S. matches and 97 for her illustrious international career.

With the win, the U.S. improved to 49-3-7 all-time against Canada and extended its unbeaten streak to 26 matches.


Here were the lineups for both teams:


Here were the rosters for both sides:

USA

GOALKEEPERS: Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS: Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage), Crystal Dunn (NC Courage), Hailie Mace (UCLA), Kelly O'Hara (Utah Royals FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)

MIDFIELDERS: Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars); Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage)

FORWARDS: Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)

CANADA

GOALKEEPERS: Stephanie Labbe (Linköpings FC), Kailen Sheridan (Sky Blue FC)

DEFENDERS: Lindsay Agnew (Houston Dash), Allysha Chapman (Houston Dash), Shelina Zadorsky (Orlando Pride), Rebecca Quin (Washington Spirit), Ashley Lawrence (PSG), Emma Regan (University of Texas), Kadeisha Buchanan (Lyon)

MIDFIELDERS: Diana Matheson (Utah Royals FC), Jessie Fleming (UCLA), Julia Grosso (University of Texas), Gabrielle Carle (Florida State University), Sophie Schmidt (Unattached)

FORWARDS: Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns), Janine Beckie (Manchester City), Deanne Rose (University of Florida), Adriana Leon (Seattle Reign FC), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash), Jordyn Huitema (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite)

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