The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team could punch a ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Friday night with a win over Mexico.
Their CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying semifinal match in Carson, Calif., begins at 10 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on FS1.
The U.S. is heavily favored. The Americans are unbeaten on home soil over the past 43 matches and have a 36-1-1 record in the all-time series against Mexico.
A win would mean the seventh-straight Olympics appearance for the U.S. — and a shot at redemption after finishing fifth at the 2016 Games, their poorest showing. A loss would keep the squad home for the first time since women’s soccer was added to the Olympics in 1996.
So far this year, Brazil, Great Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden have already qualified for the 12-team Olympic tournament set to begin on July 22.
The U.S. traditionally has been an Olympic powerhouse, winning four gold medals (in 1996, 2004, 2008, 2012) and a silver in 2000.
Mexico has qualified only once, in 2004, and placed eighth.
The top two CONCACAF finishers will qualify for the Olympics. Canada and Costa Rica are vying for the other spot.
The U.S. women have dominated the Olympic qualifying tournament, which features eight teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean. They defeated Haiti 4-0, Panama 8-0 and Costa Rica 6-0.
For this tournament, the U.S. returns 18 of 20 players from the squad that came away victorious at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Midfielder Lindsey Horan has led the team in scoring so far, with five goals. Forward Christen Press has four, and Jessica McDonald, Tobin Heath and Samantha Mewis have all scored two.
Alex Morgan, who tied for most goals scored at last summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, hasn’t been playing. She is seven-months pregnant with her first child, but has said she’ll fight for an Olympic roster spot should the U.S. qualify.