The result Friday: Mexico 2 U.S. 1
It was a first-ever victory for Mexico over their northern neighbors in 26 attempts and undoubtedly the biggest loss in the history of the U.S. national team.
And now the U.S. must do the virtually unthinkable: Qualify for next year’s World Cup in Germany by beating Italy in a two-leg playoff next month.
But first is the little matter of beating Costa Rica, which lost to Canada 4-0 in the other semifinal, at 3 p.m. Monday.
It was just the second loss in 60 matches for the U.S. under coach Pia Sundhage and first since the opening game of the 2008 Olympics.
“You can’t take anything for granted,” said Sundhage. “We knew Mexico would be a good team and that it would be a good game. Today, they scored one more goal than we did and their early goal made a big difference. They got the 12th player, the crowd to support them and they had so much energy. Not only that, when we scored to tie the game, they came back to score right after.”
U.S. lineup: 18-Nicole Barnhart; 2-Heather Mitts, 6-Amy LePeilbet, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 19-Rachel Buehler (13-Kristine Lilly, 84); 9-Heather O’Reilly (5-Alex Morgan, 60), 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe; 8-Amy Rodriguez, 20-Abby Wambach
Check out the highlights:
*Former Galaxy Coach Sigi Schmid, now coaching the Seattle Sounders, of course, a team that plays the Galaxy at 6 p.m. Sunday in the Western Conference semifinal decider in Carson used to say “goals change games.” The Sounders need just one.
*The Cal State Dominguez Hills men will play for the CCAA title Sunday against Sonoma State.
*Senior Rafael Baca of Lawndale scored a brace and the Loyola Marymount three unanswered goals for a 3-1 victory over Portland in a West Coast Conference match on Friday night at Merlo Field in Portland. The win pushes the Lions (10-5-2, 6-2-1 WCC) into second place in the WCC standings and completes the season sweep over the third-place Pilots (8-4-5, 5-3-2 WCC).
*The UCLA men (12-4-1, 6-2-0) defeated Washington 1-0 win Friday evening in Seattle.
*The Loyola Marymount women (10-6-2, 2-3-2 WCC) lost 2-1 to San Diego in their regular season finale Friday; LMU now awaits the 1:30 p.m. Monday NCAA Tournament Selection Show on ESPNU to see if its season will continue.
*No. 17 USC (11-5-3) lost 3-0 at Arizona State Friday.