Crystal Dunn tied a national team record with five goals and U.S. women defeated Puerto Rico, 10-0, on Monday night to win Group A in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
The U.S. scored three times within 1 minute 56 seconds in the second half and outshot Puerto Rico, 32-1.
The U.S. can clinch one of the 12 slots in Brazil with a victory in its CONCACAF semifinal game Friday in Houston. It will face the runner-up of Group B, which will finish play Tuesday. Canada is expected to win that group with Guyana or Trinidad & Tobago finishing second.
The top-ranked U.S. improved to 16-0-1 in all-time CONCACAF qualifying play. It has scored 91 goals and given up four.
Costa Rica is the other semifinalist from Group A after defeating Mexico, 2-1.
Dunn’s goals came in the sixth, 21st, 62nd, 85th and 87th minutes. She had five career goals going into the game.
The other goals came from Carli Lloyd on a penalty kick, Kelley O’Hara, Christen Press, Samantha Mewis and on an own goal.
Coach Jill Ellis’ starting lineup included eight players who didn’t start the two previous group games and only five players who appeared in last summer’s World Cup-winning team. The lineup was drastically changed because the team had clinched a semifinal spot, was playing for the third time in five days and was facing an opponent ranked No. 108.
Alex Morgan played only the second half, substituting for Lloyd. Goalkeeper Hope Solo was among the regular starters rested.
The newcomers included Mallory Pugh, 17, the youngest woman to start a qualifying game for the U.S. Pugh assisted on Dunn’s first goal and was tripped in the 18th minute, leading to Lloyd’s penalty kick.
Alyssa Naeher earned the shutout in her first CONCACAF qualifying appearance.
It was Lloyd’s 85th international goal and 11th in Olympic qualifying, three short of Abby Wambach’s U.S. record.
O’Hara’s goal came on a back heel near the goal line in the 45th minute off a cross from Stephanie McCaffrey.
Puerto Rico, making its first appearance in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament, was outscored, 25-0, in three games. It had never faced the U.S. at the senior level.