February 13, 2016
GOING FOR GOALS GALORE
Klingenberg: USA won't let up against Mexico or anyone else
By Michael Lewis
|Meghan Klingenberg: "We want to make sure we get those three points and hopefully score as many goals as possible because we want to make sure we pad it so there's no chance that we don't go through."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
FRISCO, Texas -- When the United States takes on rival Mexico in a vital CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship game Saturday, the Americans won't leave anything to chance.
They plan to attack and then some in the Group A match at Toyota Stadium.
"We know that Mexico is going to be a good opponent," defender Meghan Klingenberg said. "We want to make sure we get those three points and hopefully score as many goals as possible because we want to make sure we pad it so there's no chance that we don't go through. We want to make this as uninteresting as possible. That's our goal going against Mexico and every team we're going to play."
If the Americans defeat their border rivals and Costa Rica defeats or ties Puerto Rico in the opening game of the doubleheader, they can clinch a semifinal berth against a Group B team. The winners of Friday's semifinals in Houston will secure one of two CONCACAF and 12 overall spots in the Rio Olympics this summer.
Both teams enter the match-up coming off big opening wins, the USA via a 5-0 triumph over Costa Rica, the Mexicans from a 6-0 victory past Puerto Rico. Mexico leads by goal differential.
Most USA-Mexico confrontations have been friendlies. This one leads to an Olympic berth, so expect the intensity to be raised.
"It's always interesting because we play a lot of friendly games," midfielder Tobin Heath said. "Any time you're in qualifiers, the environment changes. All of a sudden you have to get a result. For both of us, that's extremely important. You can be extremely familiar with each other, but when a result needs to take place, I think you will see a different game than what you will see in a friendly."
The USA leads the all-time series, 31-1-1, having lost in the 2011 Women's World Cup qualifiers. Since then, the Americans have reeled off seven consecutive wins while allowing an astounding one goal.
Because many Mexican players perform in the National Women's Soccer League and the teams have clashed on the field for years, preparing for this encounter is not as difficult as others.
"Knowing them gives us a kind of advantage when we go through our scouting reports because we know the players,: Klingenberg said. "They play in our league we play against them numerous times. That kind of gives us a heads up on how they're going to play. So we have a few ideas of how they're going to come out against us. I think it will be a good match-up because they're a good team."
The USA just wants to be better.