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U.S. Under-20 WNT Ready to Battle For Group A Against Mexico

U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team
CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying
Puebla, Mexico
June 19, 2008

FOR THE GROUP: The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team will be looking for to take the top spot in Group A of CONCACAF Qualifying when they clash with host Mexico on Sunday, June 22, at Estadio Cuauhtemoc in Puebla, Mexico. The USA has already secured its place in the semifinal round on June 25 by winning their opening two matches, 4-0 against Trinidad & Tobago on June 18 and 9-0 against Cuba on June 20. The winner of Group A will face Group B runner-up Costa Rica in the semifinal while the second-place team will take on Group B winner Canada.

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
Cuba vs. Trinidad & Tobago 12 p.m. CT
USA vs. Mexico 2:30 p.m. CT 

USA ON TOP: The U.S. and Mexico are tied atop the Group A standings heading into Sunday’s game, but if that game ends in a tie, the U.S. has the first tiebreaker advantage – goal differential. With 13 goals scored through their first two games and none against, the U.S. has the advantage over their Sunday opponent, who has scored 10 goals while holding up two shutouts.

Group A Standings
Team   W   L   T   Pts.   GF   GA   GD
USA       2    0   0   6        13   0    +13
MEX       2    0   0   6        10   0    +10
TRI         0    2   0   0         0     7     -7
CUB       0   2   0    0         0    16   -16

BALANCED ATTACK: The U.S. defense has yet to allow a goal in the tournament, but the focus has been on the potent attack. The U.S. has scored more goals than any other team in the tournament (13), and has two players on top of the list of scoring leaders. Michelle Enyeart, who notched a hat trick in the opener against T&T and added two against Cuba, is currently in pole position for the Golden Boot. Kelley O’Hara scored for the USA against T&T and added a hat trick of her own against Cuba to bring her total to four. Only one other player, Mexico’s Veronica Corral, has three goals.

U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Kristin Arnold (Texas A&M), Alyssa Naeher (Penn State)
DEFENDERS (4): Kaley Fountain (Wake Forest), Lauren Fowlkes (Notre Dame), Nikki Marshall (Colorado), Elli Reed (Portland)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Becky Edwards (Florida State), Meghan Klingenberg (North Carolina), Christine Nairn (Bowie, Md.), Ingrid Wells (Georgetown), Keelin Winters (Portland)
FORWARDS (9): Kiersten Dallstream (Washington State), Gina DiMartino (Boston College), Michelle Enyeart (Portland), Sydney Leroux (Phoenix, Ariz.), Jessica McDonald (Glendale, Ariz.), Alex Morgan (California), Casey Nogueira (North Carolina), Kelley O’Hara (Stanford), Nikki Washington (North Carolina)

Quick Hits:
• Michelle Enyeart took sole possession of the team scoring lead with nine in 2008.
• Kelley O’Hara is second on the team with eight goals scored on the year.
• Five different players have tallied for the U.S. through two games – Enyeart (5), O’Hara (4), Nikki Washington (2), Becky Edwards (1) and Alex Morgan (1).
• O’Hara and Casey Nogueira are the only two players on the roster with FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup experience, as both were a part of the U.S. team that took fourth place in Russia in 2006.
• Nogueira is also the only player on the U.S. team with a senior team cap, starting in a 1-1 tie against England on January 28, 2007 at age 18.
• O’Hara also leads the U.S. team on the Qualifying roster with 15 Under-20 caps and 12 career goals.
• Three players on the roster picked up their first-ever cap at the U-20 level against Trinidad & Tobago – Kierstan Dallstream, Sydney Leroux and Alex Morgan. All three players also made an appearance against Cuba.
• Christine Nairn picked up just her second cap at this level on Friday against Cuba.
• Fourteen different colleges are represented on the roster, led by three players each from the University of Portland and the University of North Carolina.
• This will be the fourth time the USA has participated in qualifying for a FIFA U-19 or U-20 World Cup. In 2002, the U.S. team traveled to Trinidad & Tobago where it won the qualifying tournament in resounding fashion, out-scoring its opposition by a margin of 34-1
• In 2004, the USA fell to Canada in overtime in the title game by a 2-1 score. The USA had advanced to the final by outscoring its opposition 25-1 in group play and then defeated Mexico 6-0 in the semifinal to earns its berth to Thailand.
• Eleven nations have already qualified for the U-20 World Cup: host Chile; Japan, China and North Korea from Asia; France, Germany, Norway and England from Europe; New Zealand from Oceania; and Brazil and Argentina from South America.

FACING THE HOSTS: Like the U.S., Mexico has cruised through the first two games of Group A, topping Cuba, 7-0, before a 3-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago. Their defense, led by No. 1 goalkeeper Erika Vanegas Gonzalez, has yet to allow a goal in the tournament. At the other end of the field, Veronica Charlyn Corral leads the attack with three goals through two games, while Claudia Erika Garcia and Liliana Gudalupe Godoy have two goals apiece.

Mexico Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Wendy Espejel Nava, Erika Vanegas Gonzalez
DEFENDERS (4): Wendoline Ortiz Lozano, Ana Lilia Gomez Vences, Susana Mendoza Ruelas, Valeria Hernandez Perez
MIDFIELDERS (7): Liliana Guadalupe Godoy Garcia, Tamara Romero Garcia, Liliana Mercado Fuentes, Yalu Mondragon Borbolla, Maria Arelli Martinez Santos, Iliana Palma Linares, Alba Janet Mendez Lopez
FORWARDS (7): Dinorah Garza Rodriguez, Sandra Setphany Mayor Gutierrez, Claudia Garcia Mercado, Inglis Yoana Hernandez Toledo, Rosaura Gallegos Davila, Veronica Charlyn Corral Ang, Alejandra Torres Maldonado

SEMIFINAL BERTHS CONFIRMED IN GROUP B: Canada and Costa Rica have both secured their place in the semifinal round, each winning their first two games of the tournament before battling for placement on Saturday afternoon. The winner of Group B will play the second place finisher from Group A – either the U.S. or Mexico – on Wednesday, June 25.

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

GET TO KNOW NIKKI: U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team and North Carolina forward Nikki Washington sat down and answered 11 questions with Center Circle on the eve of the team's Group A showdown with Mexico at the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Tournament and professed her love for Portugal, A-1 sauce and Chapel Hill. Read the whole interview here.

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