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2016 Rio Olympics

Pair of hat tricks leads Costa Rica past Puerto Rico

Raquel Rodriguez and Karla Villalobos each had a hat trick for Costa Rica. (Getty Images)

Raquel Rodriguez and Karla Villalobos each had a hat trick for Costa Rica. (Getty Images)

Raquel Rodriguez and Karla Villalobos each scored hat tricks as Costa Rica destroyed Puerto Rico, 9-0 on Saturday in CONCACAF Women’s Olympic qualifying.

The victory is Costa Rica’s first of the tournament after losing 5-0 to the United States in Wednesday’s opener. It sets up Costa Rica for what will likely be a play-in game for the second semifinal spot out of Group A.

Rodriguez, the No. 2 overall pick in last month’s NWSL College Draft by Sky Blue FC, finished off her hat trick in second-half stoppage time with the final goal of the game.

Villalobos scored in the first half and then scored twice in three minutes to tally her hat trick by the hour mark.

Captain Shirley Cruz came off the bench in the 60th minute and scored in the 84th minute.

Saturday’s match was the first time that Puerto Rico coach Garabet Avedissian faced the team which he used to coach. Avedissian led Costa Rica to the World Cup for the first time, finishing second in qualifying in October 2014. But three months later, he stepped down to take the job as Puerto Rico’s football director on both the men’s and women’s side, citing family reasons. Amelia Valverde — Avedissian’s former assistant — took over as coach for the World Cup and remains in charge.

Costa Rica will next play Mexico on Monday in search of a berth in the semifinals.

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