The U.S. had a point to prove after failing to win the CONCACAF Women's Championship four years ago and this time around they did it in all caps and with several rows of exclamation points. A 6-0 win over Costa Rica in the final returned the title to the U.S. for the seventh time. They did not allow a single goal over the entire tournament and won their five matches by a combined score of 21-0.
By scoring four goals in the final, Abby Wambach claimed the Golden Boot with a total of seven, beating out teammate Carli Lloyd, who ended up with five and took the Golden Ball as a driving force for the team throughout the tournament. Though most of the matches weren't terribly competitive, they still held value for the U.S. The likes of Tobin Heath, Meghan Klingenberg, Christen Press, Sydney Leroux and the youngest player on the team, University of Virginia senior Morgan Brian, who started the final, showed that they can take on bigger roles at the World Cup in Canada next year.
Of course, the competition in Canada — including the host nation, which didn't take part in the CONCACAF Championship since they automatically qualify for the World Cup — will be much stronger than most of what the U.S. saw over the last 11 days. It's been 15 years since the U.S. last won the Women's World Cup. But if they can convert their enviable depth into the best possible 11 on the pitch at all times, they'll have as good a chance as anyone to win it for a record third time.
The Women's World Cup has been expanded from 16 to 24 teams for the 2015 edition and as of this writing, 21 teams have now qualified. Here's the list:
Thailand (first appearance)
Switzerland (first appearance)
Spain (first appearance)
Cameroon (first appearance)
Costa Rica (first appearance)
Ivory Coast (first appearance)
The World Cup draw will be held on December 6.
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