• Thursday Feb 18, 2016

    U.S. goal-hero Dunn: “We are going to be focused”

    USA's Crystal Dunn (blue jersey) currently tops the 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship scoring table with six goals. (Photo: Mexsport)

    FRISCO, Texas – As impressive as the United States looked during the group stage of the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship (CWOQ), it realizes there is still work to be done.

    The four-time Olympic gold medalist needs to defeat Trinidad & Tobago in Friday’s semifinals in Houston to obtain one of the two confederation berths.

    "We haven't secured a spot yet," U.S. forward Crystal Dunn remarked. "This is a great step for us. We are going to be focused. We have work to do. There is always going to be pressure for us. We're preparing for a high quality game and securing a ticket to Rio."

    The Americans outscored their Group A foes 16-0, while posting a perfect 3W-0D-0L.

    Dunn connected for five goals in a 10-0 Group A win over Puerto Rico on Monday to become the seventh player in U.S. history (and third in CWOQ play) to accomplish that feat, joining Brandi Chastain, Michelle Akers, Tiffeny Milbrett, Abby Wambach, Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux.

    "I can't believe I'm amongst some really great names," said the 23-year-old. "This is a very important moment for me. It's not like it’s easy to score this many goals.

    “I would like to think there is more to come. I will hold it in my back pocket for now.”

    Although Dunn won the 2015 National Women's Soccer League scoring crown and MVP honors, she had never previously tallied so many goals in a match.

    "I mean, if I scored five goals, it was not like within the last 15 years," the Washington Spirit standout commented. "My confidence is up. I'm feeling good."

    After being one of the final cuts from last year's Women's World Cup team, Dunn has made the most of her latest opportunity.

    "She's always had a fantastic attitude and a willingness," U.S. head coach Jill Ellis said. "That's a big strength for her, her inner character. She believes that she belongs here. She is working very hard. It's the self-belief [that] is a really big common denominator for several of the players."

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