Kai scores twice as U.S. women dispose of Mexico

April 6, 2008

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- Natasha Kai scored twice and Abby Wambach added a goal in the U.S. women's soccer team's 3-1 victory over Mexico on Sunday that moved the Americans within a victory of securing a spot in the Beijing Olympics.

The United States, the Group A winner in the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament, will face Group B runner-up Costa Rica on Wednesday night in the semifinals, with the winner advancing to the Olympics.

Canada, a 1-0 winner over Costa Rica in Group B, will face Mexico in the other semifinal, with an Olympic spot also at stake.

The United States scored all three goals in the first half in front of a capacity crowd of 22,280 at the Estadio Olimpico Benito Juarez.

"We saw Mexico play three days ago so we knew the formation, but they have a 12th player, and that's the crowd. It was absolutely wonderful," U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said. "This is my first time here in Mexico with the U.S. team and that kind of crowd, I appreciate it a lot. We knew there would be battles, a lot of one-v-one, and a technical Mexico team. So we needed to stay focused in defending and find the space outside their backs. We did a pretty good job at the end of the day."

Sundhage made four changes to the lineup that she used in the team's opening 6-0 victory over Jamaica on Friday, inserting Hope Solo in goal, Rachel Buehler at right back, Tobin Heath at left midfield and Kai up top with Wambach.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press