USWNT move step closer to Tokyo Olympics with thrashing of Panama

Lindsey Horan scored three goals as the U.S. women's national team cruised to an 8-0 victory over Panama in a Group A match of the CONCACAF 2020 Olympic qualifier in Houston on Friday.

The United States clinched a berth in the event's semifinals Feb. 7 in Carson, Calif. The two semifinal winners will advance to the Olympics in Japan. The championship match of the qualifier is Feb. 9 in Carson.

Horan (third and 18th minutes), Lynn Williams (15th) and Rose Lavelle (21st) staked the U.S. to a 4-0 lead. Horan made it 8-0 in the 81st minute for her 16th international goal as the Americans ran their unbeaten streak to 22-0-3.

The Americans can finish atop the group with a win or tie vs. Costa Rica (2-0-0) when they complete the round-robin Monday in Houston. The. U.S has a plus-12 goal differential while Costa Rica is at plus-7 following a 2-0 win over Haiti (0-2-0) earlier Friday.

Panama (0-2-0) offered little resistance early by trying to play a high line to trap the Americans offside, but instead repeatedly left goalkeeper Yenith Bailey out to dry.

The U.S. went up 1-0 when Panama defender Rebeca Espinosa got tangled with Bailey, leaving Horan to score an easy goal.

Bailey was down for several minutes just after the 10-minute mark following a head-to-head collision with U.S. forward Jessica McDonald. Upon the resumption of play, Horan's pass split the defense to free Williams to make it 2-0 in the 15th .

After Horan made it 3-0, Lavelle extended the lead to 4-0, going 1-on-1 with Bailey to score from a tight angle.

Bailey pulled herself from the game in the 33rd minute for Sasha Fabregas, who held the Americans off the board until Christen Press scored on a header from a Williams cross in the 70th.

McDonald, two minutes later, and Tobin Heath, in the 78th minute, made it 7-0.

The U.S. outshot Panama 34-0, with 17 in each half.