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U.S. U-19 WNT Draw With Costa Rica 0-0, Play Mexico in Semifinals to Qualify For FIFA World Championship

* Wet, Sloppy Conditions Reduce Opportunities as U.S. Doesn’t Score For First Match in Qualifying
* U.S. Goes Undefeated in Group B, Giving Up Just One Goal in 270 Minutes of Play
* Under-19s Will Next Face Mexico in Semifinals on Friday, June 4, at 5:30 p.m. ET in Montreal, Trip to FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship On the Line

MONTREAL, Canada (June 1, 2004) – The U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team couldn’t find the back of the net in a drizzling rain during a scoreless tie against Costa Rica in their final Group B match of the CONCACAF U-19 Final Qualifying Tournament at McGill University Molson Stadium in Montreal, Canada.

Despite not scoring a goal for the first time in the tournament, the U.S. finishes atop Group B and will play Mexico in the semifinals on Friday, June 4, at 5:30 p.m., for the chance to qualify for the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand from Nov. 10-27. The U.S. and Costa Rica both finished with seven points in Group B, but the U.S. won the group with a better goal differential of plus-24 to plus-14. Mexico finished second in Group A after falling to Canada 3-0 this evening at Frank Clair Stadium in Ottawa.

In the other semifinal, Canada will face Costa Rica at 8 p.m. ET, directly following the U.S.-Mexico match. The winner of Canada-Costa Rica will also qualify for Thailand as CONCACAF receives two bids to the World Championship.

The scoreless tie snapped the USA’s 11-game winning streak during CONCACAF U-19 Qualifying and FIFA U-19 World Championship matches, dating back to the inaugural events in 2002.

“I give Costa Rica a lot of credit as they were very organized in their defending and got a lot of numbers behind the ball,” U.S. Under-19 WNT head coach Mark Krikorian said. “We certainly had our chances, but we weren’t quite precise enough with our finishing or with the final pass, so it became a bit of a stalemate. But, in the end we got the result that allowed us to win our group and now we’re just looking ahead to Mexico.”

A constant, heavy rain that started early in the morning and didn’t let up until the beginning of the second half slowed down the U.S. attack that had netted 25 goals in their first two Group B matches. Due to drainage problems on the stadium field, patches of standing water collected in certain areas of the field making it difficult for the passes to get through and subsequently keeping the U.S. from finding a rhythm. The U.S. only garnered 10 shots on the night, three of which were on goal. 

In the beginning of the match, the U.S. came out pressuring Costa Rica’s defense as they tried to test back-up goalkeeper Yirlania Arroyo, starting in place of regular starter Silvia Arias, who received a red card and two-game suspension in their opening match against Trinidad & Tobago for a reckless foul.

It looked like it was just a matter of time before the U.S. would get on the scoreboard, as speedy outside midfielders Sheree Gray, seeing her first action in the tournament, and Megan Rapinoe were able to get open down the flanks and cause havoc for the Costa Rican defenders. Midfielders Stacy Lindstrom and Yael Averbuch were also able to control the midfield, spreading the ball around and allowing the U.S. to keep most of the possession.

At the 10 minute mark though, Rapinoe went down hard after hustling after long ball on the left side of the penalty area and getting unintentionally clipped by Arroyo as the ‘keeper came out of the box to clear it out of danger. Rapinoe suffered a bruised ankle and Stephanie Kron came on as her replacement in the 13th minute. After the match, Rapinoe was walking on the ankle and is considered day-to-day.

The U.S. pressure provided four corner kicks during the first 25 minutes of the match, with two of their best chances on goal coming off the set plays as the U.S. had excellent chances within a two-minute span.

Rachel Buehler, who had scored on headers in each of the first two matches, looked like she would get her third in the 21st minute. Averbuch’s corner kick from the left side skipped through the penalty area before Kron was able to track it down. She quickly served the ball back into the box, finding Buehler, who had fought her way open at the far-left post, but her header from the corner of the six-yard box went straight into the hands of Arroyo.

A minute later, the U.S. won another corner kick, this time Averbuch taking it from the right side. Her service to the back post found Sauerbrunn racing in on goal, but the defender's one-timer was inches too high as it carried over the crossbar.

In the 25th minute, Kia McNeill almost added to her four-goal output from the USA’s first match of the tournament, as she was able to redirect on an early, curling cross from Stephanie Lopez, but her 15-yard header was stopped by a diving save from Arroyo.

The rain got worse before it got better and for the rest of the first half both teams struggled to string passes together. The rain was a tactical advantage for Costa Rica as it helped slow down the U.S. attack and even provided counter attack chances as a number of passes from U.S. defenders would hit the standing water and allow Costa Rican forwards to pounce on the ball and push forward.  

The rain subsided as the second half kicked off, but the U.S. still struggled creatively in the final third. The U.S. seemed to settle for long distance attempts as Lopez and Kron both ripped shots from beyond the penalty area in the first five minutes, both of which were off target.

In the 56th minute, Averbuch also tried from outside on a 22-yard free kick, just missing the upper-right corner. It looked as though she would cross the ball into the pile of players stacked at the top of the 18-yard box, but instead she tried to surprise Arroyo with a quick shot, missing by a foot.

During the next ten minutes, Costa Rica began to gain some confidence in midfield with Shirley Cruz taking control and putting the pressure on U.S. backline. Cruz, who plays for the full national team, began utilizing small gaps in the field to run at players or slip dangerous through balls in behind the defense. In the 64th minute, Costa Rica had its most dangerous chance as Karla Villalobos sent Cruz through at the top of the box on a give-and-go, but Buehler was able to sprint back and clear it out before Cruz could get a touch on it.

Costa Rica also put two long distance attempts on goal, their only two shots of the night, during the second half, but both were easily snagged by goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, who registered her second shutout of the tournament.

- U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team Game Report -

Participants:  U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team vs. Costa Rica
Competition: CONCACAF U-19 Qualifying Tournament
Location: McGill University Molson Stadium; Montreal, Canada
Date: June 1, 2004
Attendance: 100
Weather: Cold and rainy; 45 degrees
Scoring Summary:
                                                1st     2nd     Final
United States                            0        0          0
Costa Rica                                0         0          0
USA – 18-Ashlyn Harris; 3-Rachel Buehler, 6-Stephanie Lopez (4-Nikki Krzysik, 83), 11-Becky Sauerbrunn, 8-Stephanie Logterman; 5-Sheree Gray (13-Alexa Orand, 70), 12-Yael Averbuch, 15-Megan Rapinoe (16-Stephanie Kron, 13), 20-Stacy Lindstrom; 10-Angie Woznuk, 14-Kia McNeill.
Subs not used: 1-Kelsey Davis, 7-Bristyn Davis, 9-Kerri Hanks, 19-Chioma Igwe.

CRC – 18-Yirlania Arroyo Fonseca; 5-Monica Salazar Carrillo, 6-Marian Montes Molina, 7-Knady Mendoza Leandro (9-Amora Wilson Ruth, 46); 10-Shirley Cruz Trana (4-Daniela Serrut Castro, 79), 11-Maciel Chacon Calorzano, 13-Ivonne Rodriguez Valenzuela, 14-Jennifer Jiminez Brown; 15-Amanda Eoqutuel Flores (12-Betsy Bustos Narchena, 86), 16-Karla Villalobos Duran, 17-Laura Sanchez Fernandez.
Subs not used: 2-Flora Aguilar Arias, 3-Vanessa Rojas Orue, 8-Jocelyn Rio Gonzalez.
Not Eligible:1- Silvia Arias

Statistical Summary:
                                  USA         CRC
Shots                          10              2   
Shots on goal             3               2
Saves                          2               3               
Corner Kick                8               0            
Fouls                           5               9          
Offside                        1               0            

Misconduct Summary:
CRC – Monica Salazar Carrillo (caution)             55th minute

Referee: Virginia Tovar (Mexico)
Assistant: Denise Robinson (Canada)
Assistant: Charlene Douglas (Canada)
4th Official: Dianne Ferreira-James (Guyana)

2004 CONCACAF U-19 Qualifying Tournament
Group A

Team       GP   W   L   T    PTS   GF   GA   GD
Canada      3     3    0    0      6       14      0     +14
Mexico      3     2    1    0      6       11      6      +5
Panama     3     1    2    0      0       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      6       25     1     +24
Costa Rica    3      2     0    1      6       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

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

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

June 4
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)