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U-20 WNT Clinch Spot in World Cup with 4-0 Victory Against Mexico

  • Morgan Brian’s 27-Yard Free Kick Highlights Another Strong Offensive Performance
  • Julie Johnston, Lindsey Horan and Kealia Ohai Add Goals; Katie Stengel Gets Two Assists
  • U.S. Will Face Friday’s Other Semifinal Winner in Championship Match at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 11, in Panama City
  • Championship Match to be Streamed Live on and Available on’s MatchTracker

PANAMA CITY, Panama (March 9, 2012) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team scored three first-half goals to defeat Mexico 4-0 in the first semifinal of the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship. With the victory, the U.S. clinched a berth in the 2012 FIFA Under-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup being held in Japan from Aug. 19 to Sept. 8. 

The USA has now qualified for all six FIFA Women’s World Cups that have been held at this level, with the first two in 2002 and 2004 being held as U-19 events before it was moved to U-20 in 2006.

The U.S. also advances to the tournament’s championship game on Sunday, March 11, where it will face the winner of Friday’s second semifinal match between Group A winner Canada and Group B runner-up Panama. The match will kickoff at 8 p.m. ET at Panama City’s Stadio Rommel Fernandez, site off all the matches of the competition. Fans can watch the regional title game via a web stream live on and follow the action on’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

“We’re very excited about qualifying for the World Cup,” said U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team head coach Steve Swanson. “It’s been a busy three months and for a lot of them who didn’t qualify for the last FIFA U-17 World Cup one, this is a big thrill. We’re excited and also anxious to go on to the final.”

Mexico and Friday’s semifinal loser will play in a third-place game at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday to determine the third and final FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup berth from CONCACAF.

The USA had consistently dominated its opponents in the attacking third throughout the tournament, scoring 18 goals in group play with 6-0 victories against Guatemala, Cuba and host Panama, and the semifinal against Mexico was no different. The final three U.S. goals came on monumental strikes from outside the penalty area that all stuck into the upper right corner.

The USA opened the scoring just 12 minutes into the match after a dazzling dribble from Katie Stengel in the left side of the penalty box. Stengel slithered past a defender and struck a cross just as the ball touched the end line. Her service was deflected by Mexico goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago at the near post, but the ball made its way to Julie Johnston at the far post and she finished smartly, smashing her chance off once bounce into the roof of the net from close range.

U.S. midfielder Morgan Brian made it 2-0 in the 36th minute off a world class free-kick. After forward Lindsey Horan was hauled down above the top of the penalty area, Morgan spun her perfectly-struck free kick from 27 yards into the upper right corner, giving Santiago no chance. It was Brian’s first goal of the tournament.

Just two minutes later it was Horan’s turn to leave her mark on the game, dribbling up the middle before curling her unstoppable shot past the stunned Santiago into the upper right corner from just outside the penalty area.

Kealia Ohai became the 11th different U.S. player to score in the tournament when she added the fourth and final goal in the 81st minute. Stengel notched her second assist of the match, dishing to Ohai who received the ball on the left side of the penalty area, then cut back inside to her right to create some space from her defender. She then blasted a shot across the face of the goal that nestled into Friday’s ever popular right corner.

Stengel had a productive night, not only as a distributor, but also creating for herself throughout the match. She had two chances for the goal in the 60th minute, attempting a left-footed shot that was saved to Santiago’s right. Shortly thereafter, Stengel had another shot attempt, but it banged off the left post.

Horan is tied with Maya Hayes as the team’s leading scorer in the tournament with each with having four goals. Horan had a hat trick against Guatemala, and Hayes scored two goals against both Cuba and Panama.

U.S. goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin made one save in the 40th minute to earn the clean sheet against Mexico. The USA defense has surrendered minimal shots on goal throughout the four games so far. Heaberlin made one save during the Guatemala match, and Abby Smith and Heaberlin did not need to register a save during the Cuba and Panama matches, respectively.

Two years ago, the U.S. U-20s defeated Costa Rica, 2-1, in the semifinal to qualify for the U-20 Women’s World Cup and then defeated Mexico, 1-0, in the championship game.

 - U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team Match Report -

Match: United States U-20 Women’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: March 9, 2012
Competition: 2012 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship; Semifinal
Venue: Estadio Rommel Fernandez; Panama City, Panama
Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
Attendance: 2,071
Weather: 85 degrees, mostly sunny

Scoring Summary:      1          2          F
USA                             3          1          4
MEX                            0          0          0

USA – Julie Johnston (Katie Stengel) 12th minute
USA – Morgan Brian                           36
USA – Lindsey Horan                         38
USA – Kealia Ohai (Katie Stengel)      81

USA: 1-Bryane Heaberlin; 4-Crystal Dunn, 3-Cari Roccaro, 5-Kassey Kallman, 2-Mollie Pathman (capt.); 16-Sarah Killion (15-Samantha Mewis, 46), 6-Morgan Brian, 8-Julie Johnston (12-Vanessa DiBernardo, 70); 7-Kealia Ohai, 14-Katie Stengel, 11-Lindsey Horan (20-Maya Hayes, 61)
Subs not used: 9-Chioma Ubogagu, 10-Mandy Laddish, 13-Micaela Capelle, 17-Olivia Brannon, 18-Abby Smith, 19-Stephanie Amack
Head Coach: Steve Swanson

MEX: 1-Cecilia Santiago (capt.); 2-Arianna Romero, 3-Bianca Sierra, 5-Ashley Kotero, 6-Olivia Jimenez (4-Christina Murillo, 46), 10-Natalia Gomez-Junco (20-Daniela Solis, 73), 13-Briana Lopez, 14-Fernanda Piña, 16-Cristina Ferral, 17-Yamile Franco, 18-Mariel Gutierrez
Subs not used: 7-Nayeli Rangel, 8-Ariana Martinez, 9-Tanya Samarzich, 11-Chrystal Martinez, 12-Rosa Merida-Medina
Head Coach: Roberto Medina

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 25 / 2
Shots on Goal: 8 / 0
Saves: 0 / 0
Corner Kicks: 10 / 1
Fouls: 7 / 4
Offside: 1 / 3

Misconduct Summary:

Referee: Gillian Martindale (BRB)
Assistant Referee 1: Shirley Perello (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Nikasie Ferreira (GUY)
Fourth Official: Dianne Ferreira (GUY) Woman of the Match: Morgan Brian