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UNC soccer: Tar Heels help USWNT confirm World Cup qualification

The trio of Tar Heels helped the US confirm their place in next summer’s tournament in France.

Canada v United States: Championship - CONCACAF Women’s Championship Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Over the past couple weeks, we’ve been keeping an eye on the US Women’s Soccer team, specifically the trio of former UNC players in the team, as they made their way through World Cup qualifying.

Things finally wrapped up Wednesday night, with the US taking the tournament with a 2-0 win over Canada. With everything now in the books, let’s look back at how the Tar Heels performed in recent games, and in the tournament as a whole.

On Sunday, the US took on Jamaica, needed just a win to confirm automatic qualification. They did not waste any time seizing control, with Tar Heel Tobin Heath scoring in the game’s second minute. The USWNT didn’t look back after that and were up 5-0 at halftime. Heath scored a second goal in the 29th minute, as they went on to win 6-0. Fellow former Heel Crystal Dunn also got the start, and provided an assist for one of the goals.

While they had already booked a place in France, the US still had to play rival Canada in the final of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship. Dunn and Heath again got the start, but neither were credited on either of the American goals in the 2-0 win.

In total for the tournament, Heath scored four goals and provided two assists, while Dunn scored one goal and also got credit for two assists. Dunn also played a decent amount in defense for a team that did not allow a goal in any of the five matches they played. The third Tar Heel, Ashlyn Harris, spent much of the tournament on the bench as the backup goalkeeper, but did keep Panama off the board in one of those five matches.

While it was about as expected going into the tournament, the US qualified for the tournament without much trouble. Considering how much time they got, you would expect Heath and Dunn to be key pieces of the team next summer, barring injuries. Harris also has been around the team for a while, so she will probably be one of the three goalkeepers to go to France. Considering the strength of UNC women’s soccer, there’s plenty of alums around in the NWSL. A good couple months between now June, and another Tar Heel could always break into the team.