December 19, 2016
SHE'S FAR FROM DUNN
Crystal Dunn named winner of best U.S. Soccer performance of 2016
By Michael Lewis
|Crystal Dunn scored five goals in a 10-0 win over Puerto Rico.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Crystal Dunn added yet another honor to her growing resume Monday.
The Rockville Centre, N.Y. native was named the winner of the best individual performance by U.S. Soccer.
That occurred on Feb. 15, when she scored a team-record tying five goals in a 10-0 triumph over Puerto Rico in the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship. That result allowed the United States to finish atop its group and reach the semifinals. The Americans went on to win the CONCACAF crown and qualify for the Rio Summer Olympics.
Dunn connected twice in the opening half and three more times in the second half.
Not did the former Albertson Fury standout equalize a record, it was also her first multi-goal game for the USA on a night when she went from five to 10 career goals.
She became the seventh player to score five goals in a match in the 31 years of the WNT program, joining Brandi Chastain, Michelle Akers, Tiffeny Milbrett, Abby Wambach, Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux.
Dunn even had some fun with the media.
"I was mad I didn't score one more," she said. "I was like, ‘I'm tied with everybody.’ "
Of course, she was kidding. Dunn admitted that she didn't know anything about the mark. In fact, she was told of her record-tying performance by U.S. Soccer women's national team press officer Aaron Heifetz after the match.
"I can't believe I'm amongst some really great names," she said. "This is a very important moment for me. It's not like it’s easy to score this many goals. So I'm going definitely hold this dear to my heart."
That's because she had never accomplished that feat before.
"I mean, if I scored five goals, it was not like within the last 15 years," Dunn said. "I cannot remember. Five goals is a lot. If I'm scoring five goals often, there is a problem. Not with me but the other teams. But yeah, this was especially a special moment. Super-excited. Going forward me personally my confidence is up, I'm feeling good. Hopefully all of our confidence is up and we can move that forward going to the next game."
Dunn also was awarded the Golden Boot as the tournament's top goal-scorer (six goals).
She realized one of her goals by performing in a major tournament -- the Rio Games -- as the red, white and blue was surprisingly eliminated in the quarterfinals.