Barnes, who attends West Virginia, scored in the 54th minute to equalize and then got the winner in the 71st minute. The U-21s remained undefeated this year, upping their record to 5-0-2, as they continue preparations for the 2001 Nordic Cup to be held in July in Norway. It was the first international win for new U-21 head coach Jerry Smith.
The USA fell behind midway through the first half after forward Iris Mora ran onto a through ball from Maribel Dominguez that had beaten the U.S. defense on the ground. Mora rushed in on a breakaway and beat U.S. goalkeeper Emily Oleksiuk low into the corner. It would be the lone Mexican highlight.
After an even first half the Americans stepped up their game and dominated the second half, out-shooting Mexico 25-5 for the game and getting two goals from Barnes, who was playing in her first international match for the U-21s.
Barnes tied the game in the 54th minute after she received a pass from Aleisha Cramer in the left side of the penalty area. She drove her dribble to the outside and launched a shot from a stiff angle that hit off Mexican goalkeeper Linnea Quinones' fingertips at the near post and caromed across the goal, skimming off the crossbar before settling in the side netting at the far post.
The USA then pushed hard for the winner as a fatigued Mexican team lost its legs. It came when midfielder Aly Wagner, who made her return to the U-21 lineup after recovering from several injuries, played Barnes in the left side of the penalty area. Barnes took a few touches and then smacked a shot from 16 yards out that knuckled through the diving Quinones' hands and into the net.
"We started slow, but the team played a great second half and showed a lot of character to come back and get two goals in this environment on the road," said Smith. "Our midfield was solid, and even without the goals, Katie Barnes played an excellent match. She added spark to our forward line."
Oleksiuk had little to do in the second half as the U.S. dominated, but did come out of her goal to slide and corral several through balls at the end of the game. The USA's other goalkeeper on the trip, Hope Solo, took ill with the flu and goalkeeper Liz Wagner was flown in before the game to take her place on the roster.
Wagner had a late header that would have put the game away, but just missed the goal. Mexico's only real danger came from the always-active Mora, but outside of her goal, the American defense did a fine job of clamping down the Mexican attack.
The U-21s will complete the two-game set against Mexico on Sunday in Guasave.
2001 U.S. UNDER-21 WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Under-21 Women's National Team vs. Mexico Women's National Team|
|Venue:||Nicolas Alvarez Ortega Stadium (Tepic, Mexico)|
|Date:||May 11, 2001|
MEX - Iris Mora (Maribel Dominguez), 25.
USA - Katie Barnes (Aleisha Cramer), 54.
USA - Katie Barnes (Aly Wagner), 71.
USA - Emily Oleksiuk, Anna Kraus, Ally Marquand, Catherine Reddick (Capt.), Jena Kluegel, Aleisha Cramer, Aly Wagner, Mary-France Monroe, Katie Barnes (Erin Misaki, 84th), Christy Welsh (Abby Wambach, 63rd), Laura Schott (Alyssa Ramsey, 54th).
MEX - Linnea Quinones, Martha Moore (Ana Galindo, 69th), Monica Gonzales, Cristina Romero (Mary Lopez, 67th), Ana Cristina Gonzales, Fatima Leyva, Monica Vergara (Mary Andrade, 58th), Janeth Siordia (Arianna Montiel, 81st), Patricia Perez, Maribel Dominguez (Capt.), Iris Mora.
|Alicia Cramer (caution)||17.|
|Jena Kleugel (caution)||90.|