Lindsey Horan felt her breakthrough goal put the United States at ease.
Horan scored on a header in the 53rd minute, Tobin Heath added another goal eight minutes later and the United States beat Canada, 2-0, Sunday in the final match at the CONCACAF Olympic soccer qualifying tournament.
“I’m so glad that we got that goal,” Horan said about her big play set up by defender Becky Sauerbrunn. “I think it made us a little more comfortable in the match and it’s always good to get that first goal obviously, so I’m really happy about that.”
Both teams had already claimed the region’s two spots in the Olympics this summer in Rio de Janeiro with semifinal victories. Alex Morgan scored three goals in a 5-0 U.S. victory Friday over Trinidad and Tobago, while Christine Sinclair scored a pair of goals in Canada’s 3-1 win over Costa Rica.
The U.S. went with the same lineup it used for the semifinals, starting 17-year-old Mallory Pugh, who is headed to UCLA in the fall. It was the third start of the tournament for Pugh, the youngest player to start for the U.S. in a qualifier.
Canada Coach John Herdman rested several of his usual starters, including Sinclair, Diana Matheson, Sophie Schmidt, and goalkeeper Erin McLeod. Matheson, Schmidt and Sinclair all came in as subs in the second half. Melissa Tancredi wore the captain’s armband.
Herdman said afterward the plan was to hold the United States and then bring in the “flair” players for a late push. But Horan stepped up before the substitutions could be made.