U.S. Under-20 WNT Takes Top Spot in Group A With 3-0 Win Over Mexico
PUEBLA, Mexico (June 22, 2008) -- The U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team earned the top place in Group A of the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship by defeating host Mexico, 3-0, in front of a hostile crowd at Estadio Cuauhtemoc in Puebla, Mexico.
The U.S. will play Costa Rica, who finished in second place in Group B, at 1 p.m. CT on Wednesday, June 25, in the tournament semifinal. The other semifinal features Group B winner Canada against Mexico in the second game of Wednesday afternoon’s doubleheader. The semifinal winners, along with the winner of the third-place game will earn one of the region’s three berths to the 2008 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile and a trip to the tournament final on Saturday, June 28.
“Mexico provided a very big test for our team today,” said U.S. head coach Tony DiCicco. “Playing Mexico will help us prepare for Costa Rica. Both teams have good, smart and quick players who are dangerous with the ball. So, hopefully playing Mexico today will make us a better team as we head into Wednesday’s game against Costa Rica.”
Three different strikers tallied for the United States, with Kelley O’Hara opening the scoring in the 10th minute and Michelle Enyeart and Nikki Washington adding second half goals.
The U.S. was on the attack early, with two quick scoring chances stifled at the last minute by the Mexico backline. O’Hara’s opening goal was the culmination of an offensive build-up through the midfield. Keelin Winters played the ball through a tight seem around the penalty area, where O’Hara had timed her run perfectly. Alone in the box, she beat goalkeeper Erika Venagas to the far post for the eventual game-winner.
The teams traded possession for much of the remainder of the half, but the USA was clearly creating better attacks towards goal. The Americans strung multiple passes together to move the ball forward, while Mexico’s attempts at a more direct attack were continuously broken up by the stingy U.S. defense, which has yet to concede a goal.
“Coming into the game we were very concerned with the Mexican attack and we battled them well,” said DiCicco. “We won today because of our defense. They have been very secure throughout the tournament and today they created opportunities for our offense to score goals.”
Mexico’s defense suffered a big loss when sweeper Ana Gomez had to leave the game with an injury in the 38th minute, but was still able to hold off the U.S. attack until the rain started to come down in the 60th minute.
Just seven minutes later, as the skies really opened up, Enyeart broke through for her tournament-leading sixth goal in three games. She tracked back to win the ball in the midfield and went on a 40-yard run at goal. The speedy forward ran by two defenders and cut around a third before slotting it past Venegas to double the USA’s lead.
The best chance of the night for the home team came in the 75th minute, when Veronica Corral got loose in the box. The dangerous striker took a touch around Marshall and ripped a shot, but it went high and wide of the far post.
The Americans scored on their last dangerous chance of the game in the 87th minute, when second-half substitute Alex Morgan ran onto a long ball and had just one defender to beat. She looked up and saw Washington streaking down the middle of the field and touched it over to her teammate, who went in unchallenged and beat Venegas to give the U.S. a three-goal advantage.
Mexico had one last chance after whipping a cross into the U.S. box. Christine Nairn was there to head the ball out, but Liliana Mercado pounced on the clearance and ripped a half-volley from 20 yards out that forced a good save from goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who had to back up to her goal line to make the catch. Naeher finished the game with just two saves, but was active in controlling her box and picking off crosses.
Competition: CONCACAF Under-20 Women's World Cup Qualifying
Location: Estadio Cuauhtemoc - Pueblo, Mexico
Date: June 22, 2008
Weather: Chilly, Rainy
1 2 F
USA 1 2 3
MEX 0 0 0
USA – Kelley O’Hara (Keelin Winters) 10th minute
USA – Michelle Enyeart (unassisted) 67.
USA – Nikki Washington (Alex Morgan) 88.
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 19-Kiersten Dallstream, 2-Lauren Fowlkes, 4-Nikki Marshall, 3-Meghan Klingenberg; 25-Becky Edwards, 15-Casey Nogueira, (11-Christine Nairn, 77) 5-Keelin Winters; 22-Sydney Leroux (17-Alex Morgan, 46), 10-Kelley O’Hara (7-Nikki Washington, 62), 13-Michelle Enyeart
Subs not used: 14-Jessica McDonald, 18-Kristin Arnold, 8-Kaley Fountain 21-Ingrid Wells
Not available: Gina DiMartino, Elli Reed
Head Coach: Tony DiCicco
MEX: 1-Erika Venagas; 13-Susana Mendoza, 4-Ana Gomez (6-Maria Martinez, 38), 23-Liliana Mercado, 7-Yalu Mondragon; 10-Dindra Garza, 19-Iliana Palma, 8-Alejandra Yorres (14-Edna Hernandez, 57), 27-Liliana Godoy (17-Ixchebel Romero, 75); 9-Veronica Corral, 11-Sandra Mayor
Subs Not Used: 2-Wendolin Ortiz, 5-Alba Mendez, 12-Wendel Espejel, 16-Rosaura Gallegos, 18-Claudia Garcia, 21-Inglis Hernandez
Head Coach: Andrea Rodebaugh
USA – Kelley O’Hara (caution) 44th minute
USA – Alex Morgan (caution) 48.
USA – Lauren Fowlkes (caution) 63.
MEX – Edna Hernandez (caution) 86.
Shots 10 / 6
Shots on Goal 9 / 3
Saves 2 / 6
Corner Kicks 5 / 1
Fouls 12 / 14
Offisides 6 / 0
Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Becky Edwards
Group A Standings
Team W L T Pts. GF GA GD
USA 3 0 0 9 16 0 +16
MEX 2 1 0 6 10 3 +7
TRI 1 2 0 3 6 8 -2
CUB 0 3 0 0 1 22 -21
June 18, 2008
USA 4, Trinidad & Tobago 0
Mexico 7, Cuba 0
June 18, 2008
USA 9 Cuba 0
Mexico 3, Trinidad & Tobago 0
June 20, 2008
Trinidad & Tobago 6, Cuba 1
USA 3, Mexico 0
Group B Standings
Team W L T Pts. GF GA GD
CAN 3 0 0 9 9 1 +8
CRC 2 1 0 6 6 7 -1
JAM 1 2 0 3 8 6 +2
NIC 0 3 0 0 2 11 -9
June 17, 2008
Canada 2, Nicaragua 0
Costa Rica 3, Jamaica 1
June 19, 2008
Canada 3. Jamaica 1
Costa Rica 3 Nicaragua 2
June 21, 2008
Jamaica 6, Nicaragua 0
Canada 4, Costa Rica 0