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U.S. U-19 WNT Take on Mexico With Trip to World Championship On the Line

U.S. Under-19 WNT
CONCACAF Final Qualifying Tournament
June 3, 2004 – Montreal, Canada


After going undefeated in group play and finishing atop Group B, the U.S. Under-19 WNT now sets its sight on Mexico, the runner-up in Group A, in the all-important semifinal match of the 2004 CONCACAF U-19 Women’s Final Qualifying Tournament. With a victory, the U.S. advances to the 2004 FIFA U-19 World Championship in Thailand from Nov. 10-27 as the two semifinal winners get the two CONCACAF bids. A loss and the U.S. doesn’t get a chance to defend its World Championship title. The team’s most crucial game in two years will kickoff at 5:30 p.m. ET at McGill University Molson Stadium in Montreal, Canada, and fans can follow the action live on’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The U.S. finished group play going 2-0-1, getting two blowout performances against the Dominican Republic (14-0) and Trinidad & Tobago (11-1), and then drawing 0-0 with a feisty Costa Rican team on a waterlogged field. In Group A, Mexico won their first two matches against Panama and Jamaica, but fell to eventual group-winner Canada 3-0 in their final game on Tuesday (June 1). In the other semifinal, Canada is pitted against Costa Rica at 8 p.m. ET, following the USA-Mexico match. 
Date        Opponent                   Result     U.S. Goal Scorers
May 28    Dominican Republic    14-0 W    Kia McNeill (4), Kerri Hanks (3), Megan Rapinoe (2), Stephanie 
Kron, Yael Averbuch, Rachel Buehler, Alexa Orand, Stacy Lindstrom
May 30    Trinidad & Tobago       11-1 W    Kerri Hanks (3), Bristyn Davis (2), Yael Averbuch, Angie
                                                              Woznuk, Rachel Buehler, Megan Rapinoe 
June 1      Costa Rica                0-0 T   
Date       Opponent                      Venue                                          Kickoff
June 4    vs. Mexico (Semifinal)     McGill Univ. Molson Stadium         5:30 p.m. ET
June 6    Third Place/Final             Frank Clair Stadium                     10 a.m./1 p.m. ET

2004 CONCACAF U-19 Qualifying Tournament
Group A
Team           GP   W   L   T    PTS   GF   GA   GD
Canada        3      3    0    0      9       14     0    +14
Mexico         3      2    1    0      6       11     6     +5
Panama       3      1    2    0      3         3     12    -9
Jamaica       3      0    3    0      0        2     12     -10
Group B
Team              GP   W   L   T    PTS   GF   GA   GD
USA                 3      2    0    1      7       25     1    +24
Costa Rica     3      2     0    1     7       15      1    +14
T&T                 3      1     2    0      3        4      16   -12
Dom. Rep.      3      0     3    0     0         1      27   -26

2004 CONCACAF U-19 Qualifying Tournament
May 28
Group A
Mexico 5, Panama 1
Canada 4, Jamaica 0

Group B
Costa Rica 4, Trinidad & Tobago 1
USA 14, Dominican Republic 0   [Click here for the match report]

May 30
Group A
Mexico 6, Jamaica 2
Canada 7, Panama 0

Group B
Costa Rica 11, Dominican Republic 0
USA 11, Trinidad & Tobago 1    [Click here for the match report]

June 1
Group A
Panama 2, Jamaica 0
Canada 3, Mexico 0

Group B
Trinidad & Tobago 2, Dominican Republic 1
USA 0, Costa Rica 0   [Click here for match report]

June 4
(winners advance to FIFA World Championship)
USA vs. Mexico (5:30 p.m. ET – McGill University Molson Stadium; Montreal)
Canada vs. Costa Rica (8 p.m. ET – McGill University Molson Stadium; Montreal)

June 6
Third Place Match
(10 a.m. ET – Frank Clair Stadium; Ottawa)

Final (1 p.m. ET – Frank Clair Stadium; Ottawa)

The U.S. U-19s had one of their most energetic practices of the week at a practice field on the campus of McGill University on Wednesday afternoon. After warming up and playing a game of possession, the players were broken up into three teams of seven (with some staff joining in to fill out the rosters, including goalkeeping coach Warren Lipka taking the nets for the red team) for a short-field match with full-sized goals. The high-intensity games at first pitted one team against another for three minutes, as the red, yellow and blue teams rotated from playing to spectators on the sidelines, but after a few games the rules were changed and the first team to score won the right to stay on the field. After about 15 minutes, Krikorian inserted another rule, stating the first team to win two games back-to-back would be reigned champions. Well, it didn’t take long as the yellow team got a goal passed Lipka in the first match and then Stephanie Lopez ripped a low strike just inside the left post to quell the blue team, giving them the deserved title. One problem: The yellow team’s dominance was so quickly demonstrated, the other teams wanted another chance and so the games began all over again. After a few fierce contests, the red team was able to come away with back-to-back victories and have since been protesting they were now the reigning champions. A little smack talk has been reverberating between the two teams, but it shall stop right here as the yellow team will be considered the first and only champions on the day. 


-- The U.S. Under-19s have not played Mexico’s U-19 team this year, but in February of this year it did play Mexico’s full women’s national team twice during a trip to Mexico City. In their first match on Feb. 18, the U.S. got a goal from Kerri Hanks, but Mexico found the net twice for a 2-1 victory. In the rematch, Jen Buczkowski found the back of the net as the U-19s pulled out a 1-1 draw with the older, more experienced team. 

-- Tuesday’s scoreless tie with Costa Rica snapped the USA’s 11-game winning streak during CONCACAF U-19 Qualifying and FIFA U-19 World Championship matches, dating back to 2002. In that span, the U.S. had scored 90 goals while only conceding five.

-- Kerri Hanks is the USA’s leading scorer after group play with six goals in two games. Hanks, who is also the team’s leading scorer for the year with eight international goals, didn’t play against Costa Rica.

-- The U.S. U-19s spread the wealth when it came to goal scoring during group play, as 10 different players found the back of the net, including five with multiple goals. Along with Hanks, Kia McNeill (four goals), Megan Rapinoe (three), Bristyn Davis (two), Rachel Buehler (two), Yael Averbuch (two), Stacy Lindstrom, Stephanie Kron, Angela Woznuk, and Alexa Orand. The U.S. was also the recipient of two own goals against Costa Rica.

-- Midfielders Carmenita Clotide Padilla and Monica Ocampo are Mexico’s leading scorers after group play with three four each, including a hat trick for both players. Clotide Padilla scored a hat trick against Jamaica, while Ocampo put three away against Panama. The other scorers for Mexico were Alexandra  Mendoza (two goals) and Leslie Munoz.

-- Canada was the only team to go undefeated and not allow a single goal during group play. Canada defeated Jamaica 4-0, Panama 7-0 and Mexico 3-0 to snag nine points and finish atop Group A. 

-- This will be the first time the CONCACAF U-19 Women’s Final Qualifying Tournament will have games beyond group play. In the inaugural tournament in 2002, the top two finishers in Group A and Group B automatically qualified for the World Championship.

-- By stepping on the field against Mexico, starting goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris will hit her 30th cap with the U-19 WNT. Her 2002 WC teammate, Hanks, is a close second on the team, currently with 25 caps.

The U.S. Under-19 WNT got the chance to see a bit more of the city on Tuesday night as they ventured to Old Montreal for dinner at an Italian restaurant. The team had the second floor of the restaurant all to themselves and enjoyed the warm bread as they pondered over the menu, doing their best to decipher what on the French-written menu was the word for chicken or green salad. With large entries, a number of the players had food left over to take back, but were still hunkering for some dessert. Angie Woznuk and Becky Sauerbrunn pleaded for the vans to stop at Dairy Queen after dinner, but their cries fell on deaf ears as they zipped past the ice cream restaurant on the way back to the hotel. One reason they couldn’t stop was because team coordinator Cindy Wolf had planned a mock graduation ceremony for the seven recent high school graduates on the team. Most of the seven – Sheree Gray, Kia McNeill, Kerri Hanks, Stephanie Logterman, Chioma Igwe, Ashlyn Harris and Megan Rapinoe - missed out on their actual graduations due to their commitments with the U-19s during qualifying. During the ceremony, attended by the rest of their teammates who acted as proud parents, Hanks and Logterman (who was named Valedictorian of the class and had her actual graduation robe with her) gave a speech, Wolf provided a short introduction of each player and they all received their diplomas from Yael Averbuch acting as the school principal. In an attempt to involve everyone in the ceremony, high school sophomore Alexa Orand sat in as the American flag (easily noticeable with her red U.S. Soccer polo and piece of paper with  “American flag” written on it that was taped her shirt) for when those in attendance said the pledge of allegiance. After the ceremony, it was like any other graduation as the graduates hugged their teammates and posed for pictures. 

It’s been a tough road back, but after two ACL tears U.S. U-19 defender Rachel Buehler is looking to get back to the FIFA U-19 World Championship and this time play the entire final. In 2002, the Stanford student did her first knee (her left) ten minutes into the U-19 WC final against Canada and had to sit and watch as Linsday Tarpley knocked home the golden goal in overtime to secure the inaugural title. Then, during the post game, her emotions took over and she cried tears of happiness, tears of sadness, tears of…well, she basically just cried the entire time. Two years later, Buehler is once again with the U-19s as they attempt to qualify for the 2004 World Championship, and this time she’s looking to get to the final, win and only cry tears of joy.

Mexico has become one of the top teams in the region and earned one of the three byes, along with the U.S. and host Canada, into the 2004 CONCACAF U-19 Women’s Final Qualifying Round. Mexico’s women’s teams are considered dangerous opponents as Canada’s full team found out earlier this year when Mexico beat them to qualify for the Olympics in Athens, keeping the Maple Leafs at home. In 2002, Mexico won Group A in the CONCACAF Final Qualifying Tournament to advance to the world championship, where they ended up losing all three of their first round games. The Tricolors are the first Spanish-speaking nation to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup (1999), Under-19 World Championship (2002) and Olympic Games (2004).  

“Ohhh….I still have my fork!”
       -- Angela Woznuk while pulling her breakfast fork out of her warm-up jacket pocket as she walked down  the hallway to her room.