Lindsey Horan was virtually unstoppable on Friday night. (Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports)
HOUSTON — Lindsey Horan scored three goals and the U.S. women’s national team cruised to an 8-0 victory over Panama in a Group A match of the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament on Friday night.
The win clinched a berth in the semifinals. Both semifinal winners will reach the Tokyo Olympics. The U.S. will face Costa Rica on Monday to decide the winner of Group A. The Central Americans defeated Haiti, 2-0.
The Americans struck three times in the opening 15 minutes before a crowd of 14,121 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Panama goalkeeper and team captain Yenith Bailey got tangled up with one of her players and Horan took advantage, scoring in the third minute.
Several minutes later, Bailey knocked heads with U.S. strier Jessica McDonald and spent some time on the ground. She stayed in the game.
Two minutes after Lynn Williams’ goal in the 16th minute, Horan tallied her second before Rose Lavelle scored her first goal since the World Cup final to make it 4-0 in the 21st minute.
Bailey was stretchered off in the 32nd minute and things did not get much better for Panama.
Christen Press scored her third goal in as many games in the 70th minute before McDonald struck two minutes later for a 6-0 margin. Tobin Heath, who came in as a substitute, added antoehr, and Horan completed her hat-trick in the 81st minute.