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Sophia Smith, U.S. women shut out Jamaica, clinch World Cup spot

Sophia Smith, U.S. women shut out Jamaica, clinch World Cup spot
Forward Sophia Smith scored two of the United States Women's National Team's five goals in a shutout win over Jamaica on Thursday at Estadio BBVA in Guadalupe, Mexico. Photo by Miguel Sierra/EPA-EFE

July 8 (UPI) -- Sophia Smith scored twice in the first eight minutes to spark a United States Women's National Team win over Jamaica, which also clinched a spot for the Americans in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

"When we can start the game like that, it's always going to be a fun game to play in," Smith told CONCACAF after the 5-0 shutout Thursday at Estadio BBVA in Guadalupe, Mexico.

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"It was great for us to start that way. ... I though the performance was really good."

Rose Lavelle, Kristie Mewis and Trinity Rodman also scored in the win. The Americans outshot Jamaica 20-4 and dominated possession 68% to 32%.

The CONCACAF W Championship victory, paired with a Haiti win over Mexico later Thursday, punched the Americans' World Cup ticket.

"I was very pleased that we did not allow them to be dangerous," U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski told reporters. "There was nothing that scared us at any point in time."

Smith drew first blood in the fifth minute. Fullback Naomi Girma sent a pass from near midfield up to the right flank to set up that score.

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Smith ran onto the feed, tapped the ball around a defender and used the outside of her right foot to lift a shot into the left side netting past Jamaica goalie Rebecca Spencer.

The American forward doubled the lead less than three minutes later. Right back Sofia Huerta assisted that score. The defender sent another long pass into the box to spark the goal.

Smith sprinted toward the area and used her first touch to tap a shot over Spencer for a 2-0 lead in the eighth minute.

Lavelle scored the third goal of the game in the 59th minute. Left wing Ashley Sanchez ran through the box and played a pass toward the right post to spark that goal.

Lavelle ran into the area and used her first touch to shoot the ball into the left side of the net.

Mewis pushed the lead to 4-0 with a penalty kick in the 83rd minute. Forward Mallory Pugh assisted Rodman for the final score in the 86th minute.

The Americans will face Mexico in another CONCACAF Women's Championship group stage game at 11 p.m. EDT Monday in San Nicolas de los Garza, Mexico.

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The World Cup will run from July 20, 2023, through Aug. 20, 2023 in Australia and New Zealand.

Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Sweden, France, Denmark and Spain are among the other teams that previously qualified for the tournament.

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