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US women rout Trinidad and Tobago

CARY, N.C. (AP) — Rose Lavelle and Alex Morgan scored two goals apiece to help the United States beat Trinidad and Tobago 7-0 on Wednesday night in the Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament.

Tobin Heath added a goal and two assists for the U.S., which led 4-0 at halftime.

Ranked No. 1 in the world, the United States advances to the CONCACAF Women’s Championship semifinals in Frisco, Texas, on Sunday. The U.S. rolled through round-robin play in Group A with a 3-0 record, outscoring its opponents 18-0.

The United States scored three goals in a four-minute span late in the first half to pull away from Trinidad and Tobago, which finished 0-3 in the group stage.

It was a result that spoke to the huge gap between the U.S. men’s and women’s national team programs. The American men lost to Trinidad and Tobago, at the time the world’s 99th-ranked team, last October to miss out on qualifying for the World Cup.

The U.S. women are the defending World Cup champions, having beaten Japan in the final in 2015.

With steady rain falling, Lavelle scored on a left-footed blast from outside the penalty area in the 41st minute to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead. She scored again less than 90 seconds later, and Crystal Dunn added another goal just before halftime.

Lavelle fell awkwardly to the turf after colliding with a defender as she scored her second goal, and she did not play in the second half.

Morgan had her second multi-goal game in a week and the 25th in her international career.

The U.S. knew before the game that it had clinched its spot in the semifinals. Trinidad and Tobago had already been eliminated after losses to Panama and Mexico.

The United States changed nine members of its starting lineup for the second consecutive match, switching back to the starting 11 it used in its tournament opener against Mexico.

The U.S. extended its unbeaten streak to 24 matches and improved to 11-0-0 all time against Trinidad and Tobago.

The United States will be joined in the CONCACAF semifinals by Panama, which finished second in Group A, and two qualifiers from Group B, which includes Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba and Jamaica.

The winners of Sunday’s two semifinal matches and the third-place match on Oct. 17 will qualify for the World Cup in France. The fourth-place finisher will take on Argentina in a two-game playoff for a berth in the tournament.