U.S. Under-18 Women Defeat Mexico 1-0, Take Home Inaugural Pan Am Championship
Solo did not play in the 1-1 draw, but she was inserted into the line-up today by U.S. coach Jay Hoffman. It proved to be a brilliant decision. Solo made 11 saves and recorded her third shutout in three starts at the Pan Am Games. In six international starts in 1999, Solo has not given up a goal.
"I thought Hope Solo played brilliant tonight," Jay Hoffman said. "I feel really happy for all the ladies because I thought we played good soccer, I thought they improved with every game."
Reddick added her third goal of the tournament in the 26th minute, a tremendous individual run that began when she picked up a loose ball in the midfield. Reddick then went on a 30-yard run through the defense that culminated with Reddick beating a Mexican defender at the top of the box and blasting a 20-yard shot that arced over the jumping Linnea Quinones and tucked under the crossbar. It was Reddick's second dangerous run from the back in the game, the first ended with the U.S. defender blasting her 18-yard shot well over the goal.
In this tournament, the United States made a habit of jumping on teams early, but surprisingly it was Mexico that nearly went ahead in the first minute. Solo hesitated coming off her line and collided with defender Nandi Pryce at the top of the penalty box. The ball popped out from between them and was headed to the goal, but Pryce averted disaster by recovering and clearing the ball from danger.
Mexico had another chance in the 15th minute when Mora Vallejo beat a charging Solo at the top of the penalty box, but U.S. defender Karyn Hall cleared the ball from the goal line. Vallejo controlled the clearance and took a shot from 10 yards out that Solo smothered as she dove to her left.
The win came at a cost for the Americans, who were already without midfielder Jena Kluegel because of a knee injury. Pryce took a blow to her left eye in the 42nd minute and was taken to an eye doctor for further examination. Bad luck struck again in the 79th minute when Solo charged off her line to punch a Mexican corner kick away, but in doing so, collided with U.S. midfielder Becky Myers. Myers was taken off the field and preliminary examinations suggest she may have broken her nose. She returned to the field for the medal ceremony and further examinations will be carried out tonight.
The win gave the United States its third inaugural women's championship this decade. The Americans also won the first Women's World Cup in 1991 and the Olympics in 1996.