Lynn Williams (left) celebrates Christen Press’ goal 78 seconds into the match. (Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports)
HOUSTON — It was far from a masterpiece, but the result will do for the United States, which recorded a 4-0 victory over Haiti in the Group A opener for both teams in the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament at BBVA Compass Stadium on Tuesday night.
Christen Press, Lynn Williams, Lindsay Horan and Carli Lloyd did the scoring for the Americans, who dominated the game from start.
Despite being the top-ranked team in the world and the reigning Women’s World Cup champions, the USWNT showed much rust in the match, which was played in the rain in the second half.
Still, its skill and talent proved too much for the young Haitian squad, which was wore down as the game went on.
Early on, it looked like it was going to be a rout for the USA as Press scored off a Williams feed only 78 seconds after kickoff.
But the Americans could not really put many dangerous chances on net for the rest of the half.
The hosts dodged a big bullet in the 18th minute when a Haitian goal was nullified by a referee’s call off a corner kick, although it looked like a clean score. No player was offside and there were no fouls by Haiti players, according to television replays. So, the reason why the goal was called back remained a mystery.
It wasn’t until a couple of substitutes came on in which the USA scored its second and third goals.
Almost five minutes after she came on for Press in the 62nd minute, Megan Rapinoe made her mark on the game. The WWC Golden Boot and Golden Ball winner sent in a pin-point corner kick to Williams, who headed it home from three yards for a two-goal margin in the 67th minute.
Only minutes after coming on as a sub, Horan tallied from 10 yards for a 3-0 margin in the 73rd minute.
As the game was winding down, Lloyd scored for the fourth consecutive game three minutes into stoppage for the final goal.
The Americans will take on Panama on Friday and then Costa Rica on Monday.
The Ticos won the first game of the doubleheader at the stadium, besting Panama, 5-1. The top two teams will reach the semifinals and the two semifinal winners will book a berth to the Tokyo Olympics this summer.