- Associated Press - Sunday, October 26, 2014

CHESTER, Pa. — Abby Wambach scored four goals and the World Cup-bound United States defeated Costa Rica 6-0 Sunday night for the team’s fifth CONCACAF Women’s Championship title.

The U.S. women had already secured a trip to next year’s World Cup in Canada with a victory over Mexico in the semifinals of the eight-team, four-city tournament.

Wambach scored on a header in the fourth minute, and fed Carli Lloyd a header in the 17th to put the United States up 2-0. It was Lloyd’s fifth goal of the tournament.

Wambach scored again off a cross from Lloyd in the 35th minute and added another header in the 41st, also with the assist from Lloyd.

She added her fourth in the 71st minute. It was her second career four-goal game; she scored five goals in a match against Ireland 10 years ago.

Wambach now has 18 goals in World Cup qualifying, breaking Michelle Akers’ team record (17). Wambach already has the career record for goals with 177, and she leads the team with 14 goals this year.

It was the first time a single player has scored four goals in a CONCACAF women’s championship title match.

Sydney Leroux scored in the 73rd minute for the final margin.

Lloyd scored a pair of goals in the 3-0 semifinal victory over Mexico on Friday night at PPL Park to send the United States to its seventh-straight World Cup. Costa Rica earned its country’s first Women’s World Cup appearance by beating Trinidad and Tobago on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in its semifinal match.

The top three finishers in the championship for the North, Central American and Caribbean region earned World Cup bids: Mexico secured a berth with a 4-2 victory over Trinidad and Tobago in the third-place match earlier on Sunday.

Trinidad and Tobago will still have a chance with a two-leg series against Ecuador starting next month.

The Trinidad and Tobago team became sentimental favorites of the CONCACAF event when they arrived in Dallas to train two weeks ago with only about $500. Coach Randy Waldrum, who volunteers his services, went to Twitter to plea for help. The response overwhelmed him.

“It was really emotional for me that first day, just the outpouring. It is hard to put into words,” said Waldrum, who is head coach of the NWSL’s Houston Dash.

Mexico has offered to help Trinidad and Tobago train at altitude for the matches against Ecuador.

The U.S. team has been ranked No. 1 in the world for the past five years and was the easy favorite going into the eight-team CONCACAF tournament. The women swept the group stage to advance to the semifinal against Mexico.

Costa Rica, the first Central American team to qualify for the World Cup, had not dropped a match in the qualifying tournament either until the final against the United States.

But the group stage wasn’t without adversity for the United States. Forward Alex Morgan sprained her left ankle during a win over Guatemala and will miss four-to-six weeks. Morgan injured the same ankle last October and was sidelined seven months.

Four years ago, the U.S. women were also favored and expected to have an easy run through qualifying, but Mexico pulled off the upset in the semifinal. The 2-1 loss in Cancun ultimately forced the United States into a two-game playoff against Italy which the team won 2-0 on aggregate.

At the World Cup in Germany the next year, the United States fell to Japan in the final on penalty kicks.

The U.S. team will be seeking its first World Cup title since 1999.


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