The United States women’s national team continued to dominate Group A at the Concacaf W Championship, thumping Jamaica 5-0 Thursday, three days after blanking Haiti 3-0 in the opener.

Thursday’s shutout puts the USWNT in a prime position to qualify for the World Cup. The team has the advantage of an eight-point goal differential entering the group-stage finale against Mexico on Monday.

Here are three takeaways from the USWNT’s shutout of Jamaica.

Young USWNT defense keeps a clean sheet

Two new faces joined the USWNT’s backline against Jamaica. Naomi Girma and Sophia Huerta replaced veterans Kelley O’Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn, who anchored the backline against Haiti in Monday’s Concacaf opener.

Coach Vlatko Andonovski’s rotation paid off early, with Girma and Huerta each logging assists in the first half and serving impressive long balls up the field to Sophia Smith.

Girma played alongside Alana Cook at center back, and the two shut down Jamaican sensation Khadija “Bunny” Shaw with apparent ease. The pair’s chemistry was evident, after the two played together for a year at Stanford.

The young defenders have a combined 15 USWNT caps compared to Sauerbrunn’s 204 international appearances. Andonovski has been eager to usher in young talent and build chemistry with the team’s seasoned leaders. The success of the Girma-Cook combination could complicate Andonovski’s plans, as the coach has yet to cement a go-to lineup ahead of the 2023 World Cup.

Sophia Smith shines

Smith put her mark on Thursday’s matchup early, notching a brace in the opening eight minutes of the game.

In the fifth minute, Smith sprinted into the box before beating her defender and striking the ball with the outside of her boot for the go-ahead goal. Three minutes later, Smith got on the end of a Huerta long ball to double the USWNT’s lead.

Thursday marked Smith’s eighth start of the year, tying her with defenders Cook and Emily Fox for the most by any USWNT player in 2022. With each game, the 21-year-old appears to be solidifying herself as the foundation of the team’s forward lineup.

Smith is currently tied for the most goals in the Concacaf Championship with two, alongside teammate Alex Morgan and Canada’s Julia Grosso.

After a prolific 45 minutes, Smith was replaced by Midge Purce at the break as part of Andonovski’s effort to get a range of players minutes.

Rotation, rotation, rotation

Andonovski has been known to rotate players often, and his approach to the Concacaf W Championship has been no different. The USWNT coach made five switches from his starting lineup against Haiti, including the swap in the backline. Alyssa Naeher replaced Casey Murphy in goal, Ashley Sanchez took over for Andi Sullivan in the midfield, and Ashley Hatch got the start over Alex Morgan in the attack.

Five substitutes came on in the second half, further shaking things up for the USWNT. Emily Sonnett relieved Emily Fox at left back, while Purce took over for Smith at the break. Then, in a surprise move, Trinity Rodman came on for Hatch at the No. 9 position, a role the 20-year-old rarely fills.

Kristie Mewis and Taylor Kornieck also got minutes, replacing midfielders Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan.

The heavy rotation from Andonvski gave players new looks, with Rodman scoring her second career USWNT goal and Mewis notching her first international penalty to lead the squad to an emphatic 5-0 victory over Jamaica.

Andonovski’s lineup changes continue to sow speculation about starting positions and roster movement ahead of the 2023 World Cup cycle.

The second match of the Concacaf W Championship group stage for the U.S. women’s national team is here.

The USWNT is set to face off against Jamaica at 7 p.m. ET Thursday in Monterrey, Mexico. The match will be streamed on Paramount+.

USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski already revealed Wednesday that Alyssa Naeher would get the starting nod over Casey Murphy in net. After Thursday’s match, though, it’s anybody’s spot for the rest of the tournament.

The starting lineup for Thursday’s match features:

  • Alyssa Naeher, GK
  • Emily Fox, D
  • Alana Cook, D
  • Naomi Girma, D
  • Sofia Huerta, D
  • Ashley Sanchez, M
  • Rose Lavelle, M
  • Lindsey Horan, M (captain)
  • Mallory Pugh, F
  • Ashley Hatch, F
  • Sophia Smith, F

Available subs include: Casey Murphy, Aubrey Kingsbury, Kelley O’Hara, Becky Sauerbrunn, Andi Sullivan, Alex Morgan, Trinity Rodman, Emily Sonnett, Taylor Kornieck, Kristie Mewis and Midge Purce.

Megan Rapinoe is unavailable for Thursday’s match after traveling to Washington, D.C. to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Joe Biden at the White House.

After defeating Haiti 3-0 in Monday’s opener, the USWNT has a big test against Jamaica before turning their attention to Mexico next Monday.

Mexico is already in a do-or-die situation after losing to Jamaica on Monday. The host team is set to face Haiti at 10 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Khadija “Bunny” Shaw scored Jamaica’s lone goal in the 1-0 win over Mexico. Andonovski cited her as a major obstacle in the USWNT’s path to winning the group.

This will be the fifth meeting all-time between the U.S. and Jamaica, and their fourth in a Concacaf qualifier. Each of their previous four meetings between have resulted in USWNT clean sheets — including last June during the USWNT Summer Series friendlies.

Jamaica started off the Concacaf W Championship on the right note Monday, stunning host Mexico with a 1-0 victory.

Khadija “Bunny” Shaw played hero, notching the game’s lone goal a mere eight minutes in off of a set piece.

The all-time top goalscorer for the Jamaican women’s national team, Shaw has played with Manchester City since 2021 and has scored nine goals through 17 appearances with the Women’s Super League club.

After the game, Mexico head coach Mónica Vergara said the slow start was a killer for the home team and took responsibility for the loss, while Jamaica head coach Lorne Donaldson said his team went in prepared and didn’t come across any surprises in their matchup.

“Almost everything they did, we expected it,” he said.

The Reggae Girlz finished with four shots on goal to Mexico’s two.

The win opens up Group A, as just two teams will advance to the knockout rounds. Jamaica, now in second in Group A, is in a strong position as it enters their final two matches of the group stage.

The upcoming women’s soccer friendly between Jamaica and Costa will be aired live on ata football, the organization announced Wednesday.

In support of Cedella Marley’s Football is Freedom initiative, the match will be available live and for free on It’s set to kick off on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET.

The Football is Freedom initiative, begun by Cedella Marley in an effort to expand her advocacy and commitment to the women’s game, aims to provide tools and resources for the development and growth of women’s soccer throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, as well as diaspora communities in the United States.

The friendly fundraising match between Jamaica and Costa Rica represents the combined efforts of the Bob Marley Foundation, Rita Marley Foundation and Reggae Girlz Foundation.

With Sunday’s broadcast, ata football continues to show its commitment to the women’s game. The platform is currently home to more than 200 live and on-demand matches and highlights from women’s soccer leagues around the world.

Tickets for the game, which will be held at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., are available for purchase.