Crystal Dunn’s goal deluge leads U.S. rout of Puerto Rico

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FRISCO, Texas (AP) — The U.S. women’s soccer team’s younger reserves not only didn’t disappoint in their Group A finale in CONCACAF qualifying for the Rio Olympics, they delivered a record performance.

Crystal Dunn, one of only three regulars to start, tied a national team record with five goals and the U.S. routed Puerto Rico 10-0 Monday night to win the group.

“I’d like to think this is a special moment,” said Dunn, who couldn’t recall another five-goal game during her entire soccer career, “but I’d love to think there’s more to come.”

“Crystal worked real hard tonight,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said. “She was in a good position in central; I think that’s probably her most comfortable position. Obviously, got a lot of service from her teammates. It’s tremendous for her and for her confidence.”

The top-ranked Americans scored three times within 1:56 during the second half and outshot Puerto Rico 32-1.

The U.S. can clinch one of the 12 slots in Brazil with a win in its CONCACAF semifinal game Friday in Houston (live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra). It will face the runner-up of Group B, which will finish play Tuesday. Canada is expected to win that group with Guyana or Trinidad & Tobago finishing second.

The U.S. remained unbeaten in all-time CONCACAF qualifying play at 16-0-1, having scored 91 goals and allowing four.

The tournament is the Americans’ first competitive play since winning last summer’s World Cup in Canada. They have won three straight Olympic titles and four of the five that have been staged in women’s soccer.

Group A’s other semifinalist is Costa Rica, which edged Mexico 2-1 in Monday’s first game at Toyota Stadium.

Dunn’s scores came in the sixth, 21st, 62nd, 85th and 87th minutes. She had five career goals going into the game and became the seventh U.S. woman to score five in a match.

The other five goals came from Carli Lloyd (on a penalty kick), Kelley O’Hara, Christen Press, Samantha Mewis (her first career score) and on an own goal.

Ellis’ opening lineup included eight players who didn’t start either of the two previous group games and only five players who appeared in last summer’s World Cup. The lineup was drastically changed since the team had already clinched a semifinal spot, was playing for the third time in five days and faced an opponent ranked No. 108.

Alex Morgan played only the second half, substituting for Lloyd. Goalkeeper Hope Solo was among the regular starters rested.

The newcomers including Mallory Pugh, 17, the youngest American woman to start a qualifying match. Pugh assisted on Dunn’s first goal and was tripped in the 18th minute, leading to Lloyd’s penalty kick.

“As the game kind of went on, I kind of got more comfortable with the ball,” Pugh said. “I think that the fact that my teammates around me are so positive, that helps.”

“This squad that we started today was obviously young,” Dunn said. “I think it was really great for everyone to get some time today.”

Alyssa Naeher earned the shutout, the third of her career, in her first CONCACAF qualifying appearance.

It was Lloyd’s 85th career international goal and 11th in Olympic qualifying, three off Abby Wambach‘s U.S. record.

O’Hara’s score came on a back heel near the goal line in the 45th minute off a cross from Stephanie McCaffrey.

Puerto Rico made its first appearance in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament and had never previously faced the United States at the senior level. It was outscored in its three matches 25-0.

This U.S. roster features only 13 of the 20 players who were on the World Cup team. Christie Rampone and Megan Rapinoe are injured, and Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux are pregnant and will miss the Olympics.

MORE: Carli Lloyd ranks Olympic-, World Cup-winning goals

Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier win U.S. figure skating pairs’ title in possible final nationals

Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier
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Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier haven’t decided if they’ll compete beyond this season, so Saturday may have been their farewell to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

If so, they went out as dominant winners, the first pair in their 30s to win nationals in more than 50 years.

Knierim, 31, and Frazier, 30, took their second U.S. title together, totaling 227.97 points to prevail by 31.11 over Emily Chan and Spencer Howe. They led by a gaping 15.1 points after Thursday’s short.

Knierim and Frazier were solid after errors on their opening jumping combination in Saturday’s free skate. They broke their own pairs’ margin of victory record from the 2021 U.S. Championships under a scoring system implemented in 2006. Knierim appeared to wipe away tears backstage.

“As I get older, the longer I’m in this sport, the more gratitude I have for it,” Knierim, the oldest woman to win a U.S. figure skating title since 1995 (Renée Roca), said on USA Network. “After that music ended, I’m just thankful that Brandon’s by my side and I’m able to do what I love.”

Ellie Kam and Danny O’Shea bagged bronze to likely round out the three-pair team for March’s world championships.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

Knierim and Frazier considered retiring after last season, after they missed nationals due to Frazier’s COVID-19, petitioned onto the Olympic team and posted the best Olympic finish for a U.S. pair (sixth) in 20 years.

They then became the first U.S. pair to win a world title since 1979, beating a field that didn’t include any of the top five from the Olympics.

They returned in part to compete as world champions and rank second in the world this season (during which the top Olympic pairs also haven’t competed). They will likely go into March’s worlds in Japan as underdogs to Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, who won their lone head-to-head this past fall at the Grand Prix Final.

Back in October, Knierim said this will probably be their last season competing together, though the pair also thought they were done last spring. They don’t expect to make a final decision until after a Stars on Ice tour this spring.

“This U.S. Championships for us was extra special because you’re just reflecting on the journey, and you know that there’s a good chance that this will be your last one,” Frazier said.

Knierim won her fifth U.S. title, tying the record for a pairs’ skater since World War II, joining Kyoka InaTai BabiloniaRandy GardnerKarol Kennedy and Peter Kennedy. Knierim’s first three titles, and her first Olympics in 2018, were with husband Chris, who retired in 2020.

Silver medalists Chan and Howe continued their recent surge. After placing fourth at last season’s nationals, they rank sixth in the world this season. That’s despite summer injuries that left them unable to practice lifts (his shoulder) and throws (her foot) for a while.

Kam, 18, and O’Shea, 31, made the podium four months after becoming a pair and less than two months after a car Kim was riding in was hit by a drunk driver while crossing an intersection. The car was totaled, but Kim and O’Shea still competed days later in Croatia.

O’Shea won the 2016 U.S. title with Tarah Kayne, retired after they split in late 2020, then came back in 2021 with Chelsea Liu. They ranked sixth in the U.S. going into 2022 Nationals, but withdrew beforehand due to concussions both suffered in a November competition fall, according to Figure Skaters Online.

NBC Sports’ Sarah Hughes (not the figure skater) contributed to this report.

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2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships scores, results

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Full scores and results from the 2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose …

Women
Gold: Isabeau Levito — 223.33
Silver: Bradie Tennell — 213.12
Bronze: Amber Glenn — 207.44
4. Starr Andrews — 188.24
5. Josephine Lee — 187.68
6. Lindsay Thorngren — 187.19
7. Clare Seo — 175.60
8. Gracie Gold — 173.98
9. Ava Ziegler — 167.70
10. Sonja Hilmer — 166.49
11. Gabriella Izzo — 166.40
12. Ting Cui — 161.27
13. Audrey Shin — 161.12
14. Lindsay Wang — 154.91
15. Michelle Lee — 145.28
16. Elsa Cheng — 138.13
17. Alexa Gasparotto — 129.41
WD. Hanna Harrell

Men’s Short Program
1. Ilia Malinin — 110.36
2. Jason Brown — 100.25
3. Tomoki Hiwatashi — 85.43
4. Liam Kapeikis — 82.27
5. Andrew Torgashev — 78.78
6. Maxim Naumov — 77.71
7. Jimmy Ma — 73.88
8. Goku Endo — 73.45
9. Samuel Mindra — 71.36
10. Yaroslav Paniot — 70.87
11. Camden Pulkinen — 69.47
12. Matthew Nielsen — 67.98
13. Joonsoo Kim — 67.45
14. Daniel Martynov — 64.04
15. Will Annis — 63.46
16. Dinh Tran — 60.63
17. Mitchell Friess — 59.14
18. Joseph Klein — 58.38

Pairs
Gold: Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier — 227.97
Silver: Emily Chan/Spencer Howe — 196.86

Bronze: Ellie Kam/Danny O’Shea — 184.01
4. Sonia Baram/Danil Tioumentsev —- 179.08
5. Valentina Plazas/Maximiliano Fernandez — 176.34
6. Katie McBeath/Nathan Bartholomay —- 172.74
7. Maria Mokhova/Ivan Mokhov —- 148.84
8. Nica Digerness/Mark Sadusky — 137.98
9. Grace Hanns / Danny Neudecker — 135.30
10. Nina Ouellette/Rique Newby-Estrella — 132.07
11. Linzy Fitzpatrick/Keyton Bearinger — 129.80

Ice Dance
Gold: Madison Chock/Evan Bates — 229.75
Silver: Caroline Green/Michael Parsons — 207.46
Bronze: Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko — 198.45
4. Emilea Zingas/Vadym Kolesnik — 198.13
5. Emily Bratti/Ian Somerville — 189.84
6. Lorraine McNamara/Anton Spiridonov — 189.15
7. Katarina Wolfkostin/Jeffrey Chen — 183.05
8. Eva Pate/Logan Bye — 182.61
9. Oona Brown/Gage Brown — 181.89
10. Isabella Flores/Ivan Desyatov — 177.31
11. Angela Ling/Caleb Wein — 167.87
12. Leah Krauskopf/YuanShi Jin — 133.93
13. Cara Murphy/Joshua Levitt — 129.85
14. Caroline Depietri/TJ Carey — 123.40
WD. Raffaella Koncius/Alexey Shchepetov

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Broadcast Schedule | New Era for U.S.

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