Carli Lloyd's hat trick started with an early goal and closed with a late finale, leading the U.S. women's national team within 90 minutes of an Olympic berth with a 4-0 romp Tuesday night over Mexico.
Lloyd scored in the seventh minute and Heather O'Reilly tallied in the eighth as the Yanks completed a dominant run through Group B of CONCACAF's qualifying tournament in Vancouver, British Columbia, in which they outscored three foes, 31-0.
An expected victory Friday over Costa Rica will send the U.S., the two-time defending gold medalists, to this summer's London games. Mexico meets Canada in the other semifinal, with the winner claiming the region's other berth. The final will be played Sunday.
The U.S. overcame an injury to goalkeeper Hope Solo, who soldiered on despite a strained thigh that clearly bothered her, and obvious fatigue by Hermosa Beach’s Abby Wambach, who came off in the second half.
Lloyd added goals in the 57th and 86th minutes, giving her five in the tournament and 33 in 122 international appearances. The victory avenged in some way last year's stunning defeat to the Mexicans in CONCACAF's Women's World Cup qualifying semifinals, a result that forced the U.S. into a home-and-home playoff against Italy to claim its spot in the field.
In other games:
Canada won Group A, routing Costa Rica, 5-1, in Monday's finale as Christine Sinclair scored two more goals. Sinclair has 127 international strikes, fourth all-time, behind Americans Mia Hamm (158), Kristine Lilly (130) and Wambach (129) and Germany's Birgit Prinz (128). Goals by Sophie Schmidt and Kaylyn Kyle and an own goal completed the scoring.
Wendy Pineda's first-half hat trick led Guatemala in a 6-0 mauling over Dominican Republic to complete their Group B schedules Tuesday.
Late goals by Kimberly Boulos, Manoucheka Pierre Louis and Nadia Valentin scored late goals as Haiti surprised Caribbean rival Cuba, 3-0, in a Group A game Monday.
1. Canada 3-0-0 (13-1 GF-GA) 9 points
2. Costa Rica 2-1-0 (5-5) 6
3. Haiti 1-2-0 (3-8) 3
4. Cuba 0-3-0 (0-7) 0
1. United States 3-0-0 (31-0) 9
2. Mexico 2-1-0 (12-4) 6
3. Guatemala 1-2-0 (6-18) 3
4. Dominican Republic 0-3-0 (0-27) 0
United States vs. Costa Rica, 5 p.m.
Canada vs. Mexico, 8 p.m.