Alex Morgan celebrates her penalty kick, which was the game-winning goal.  (Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports)

Almost two years to the day of the kickoff of the 2024 Paris Olympics, the U.S. women’s national team booked a spot in the Summer Games by besting Canada in the Concacaf W Championship.

The Americans avenged a stinging semifinal defeat in last year’s Tokyo Olympics in a 1-0 victory at Estadio BBVA in Monterrey, Mexico on July 19.

Alex Morgan converted a penalty kick in the 78th minute for the Americans, who avenging a stinging defeat in last year’s Tokyo Olympics, captured the Concacaf title for the ninth time and qualified for the Summer Games for the eighth time.

“It just always feels good to be called a champion,” Morgan said. “This game just is always going to mean a lot. Canada, they gave us a run for our money, but we prevailed and feel good about the performance.”

“She’s a winner. She knows how to win big games,” USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski said about Morgan. “She knows how to perform in in big games. And for her to be on the field to showcase that and to have [younger players] soft on the side next to her, that’s a big win for us. There’s a big win for this team in the country because they are going have to take that over and learn on the spot from one of the best.”

The Paris Games are set to kick off on July 26, 2024.

In some respects, the game mirrored the Olympic semifinals. The Canadians prevailed on Jessie Fleming’s 75th-minute penalty kick and went on to win the gold medal while the four-time Olympic champion Americans settled for a bronze.

This encounter of Concacaf’s best sides also was decided by a penalty kick about the same time.

The Canadians will play Jamaica, 1-0 extratime winners over Costa Rica in the third-place match, for the right to reach the Summer Olympics, in September 2023.

The top four finishers had qualified for next year’s Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand by reaching the semifinals of this tournament.

It wasn’t all daises for the USWNT as it went through a stretch in which it dropped three successive matches in the fall, an unheard-of development for a team that has won an unprecedented four World Cups and four Olympic gold medals.

The Americans lost in England, 2-1, Oct. 7, and then in Spain, 2-1, four days later, against a team that did not have all of its A team players. The third defeat came in a friendly to Germany, 2-1, on Oct. 10. The team bounced back with a 2-1 victory over the Germans at Red Bull Arena on Nov. 13.