The United States (pictured) acknowledges its fans after defeating Guatemala in a CONCACAF Women's Championship game on October 17, 2014, at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois. (Photo: Mexsport)
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The United States will have to play the rest of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship without star striker Alex Morgan.
That certainly is a blow for the Americans, who are trying to qualify for their seventh consecutive FIFA Women's World Cup. But don't shed too many tears for a team that has demonstrated a proven ability to find solutions thanks to a deep pool of personnel resources.
"Obviously I think we've talked a lot over the few months I've been on board here about our depth," U.S. head coach Jill Ellis said. "Certainly, she's [Morgan] a tremendous player and a big impact for us, so it would be a loss. But I also think that we have personnel. We saw some different things from different players -- that I think we'll be OK."
Case in point about the team's depth:
Midfielder Tobin Heath scored twice in the USA’s 5-0 Group A win over Guatemala in Bridgeview, Illinois, on Friday night.
"Tobin's had some really good training," Ellis said. "The previous camp, we talked a little bit more about her productivity being a part of it. Tobin loves to have fun on the ball, and she's very, very creative. We just wanted more end product, and certainly in training, certainly tonight, we saw that. I was really pleased."
So was Heath, who has 11 international goals in 78 appearances.
“The win was great,” she said. “Scoring five goals was great, us scoring different ways was great.”
Just as important as scoring goals is that the Americans created many chances.
"We played some really good soccer in the first half," Ellis said about the Guatemala game. "I said that to the players. Right now, it's the end result and we focused on that as far as scoring goals. Also what we're doing to get there is important. We're creating a lot of chances. The finishing will come. It will get better and better, I think."
The USA (2-0-0, 6 points) can clinch a spot in the semifinals with at least a draw with Haiti (1-0-1, 3 points) at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium on Monday.