• USA Will Have to Defeat Costa Rica in Third-Place Match, Then Win Two-Leg Playoff With Italy to Earn Berth to 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup
• Mexico Scores in Third Minute, Then Goes Ahead Two Minutes After U.S. Equalizer
• USA and Costa Rica Will Play on Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. ET live on ESPN2 at Estadio Quintana Roo for Playoff Berth
CANCUN, Mexico (Nov. 5, 2010) – The U.S. Women’s National Team fell to Mexico 2-1 in the semifinal of the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying tournament and now faces a third-place match against Costa Rica for the right to play Italy in a home-and-home playoff series for the final berth to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The USA will face Costa Rica at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, Nov. 8 at Estadio Quintana Roo. ESPN2 will broadcast the third-place match live. Should the USA defeat Costa Rica on Monday night, the USA would travel to Italy for the first leg of the playoff series on Nov. 20. The home leg would be played on Nov. 27 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. with a kickoff time to be determined.
It was the first victory for Mexico against the USA in 26 matches between the countries and for the Americans the stunning upset could not have come at a worse time. In what amounts to the biggest result in Mexican women’s soccer history, the hosts earned its first berth to a FIFA Women’s World Cup since 1999 and will be joined by Canada, which defeated Costa Rica 4-0 in the first semifinal on four second half goals.
It was also the first ever CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifying loss by the USA which dropped to 19-1-0 and the first time the USA has failed to advance to the championship of a CONCACAF event. It was just the second loss in 60 matches under U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage and first since the opening game of the 2008 Olympics.
“You can’t take anything for granted," said Sundhage. "We knew Mexico would be a good team and that it would be a good game. Today, they scored one more goal than we did and their early goal made a big different. They got the 12th player, the crowd to support them and they had so much energy. Not only that, when we scored to tie the game, they came back to score right after.”
In front of a loud and boisterous capacity crowd at Estadio Beto Avila, the Mexicans used the energy of their supporters to play an inspired match, scoring twice in the first 27 minutes. It was just the third time in the history between the two teams that Mexico has scored twice on the USA.
The Americans started poorly in all three of its group games and once again that theme held true as Mexican star Maribel Dominguez ran under a looping pass to sneak behind the U.S. back line just past two minutes into the game. She toe-poked her shot past stranded U.S. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart to give Mexico an early lead.
It once again took the USA a few minutes to settle into the match, but the Americans finally broke through on a corner kick from the left side in the 25th minute. Megan Rapinoe sent a hard cross into the middle and Mexico couldn’t clear before Carli Lloyd won the scrum, sliding to knock the ball into the lower right corner.
Just when it seemed the Americans were poised to take over the match, to Mexico’s credit, the hosts came right back down the field and took the lead less than two minutes later as Veronica Perez got her head on a cross from the right wing and snuck a shot into the lower left corner past the scrambling Barnhart. Mexico matched the USA at seven shots each in the first half, but the majority of the game featured furious U.S. attacks against organized Mexican defending and solid goalkeeping.
The U.S. pushed hard for the equalizer for the final 60 minutes of the game, but Mexico held tough while getting an excellent performance from goalkeeper Erika Venegas who made six saves.
The U.S. team served a few dangerous crosses into the middle and Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd had several cracks on goal from distance, but the USA’s finishing was wanting.
Abby Wambach got her head on a cross in the 71st minute as Vanegas missed on the attempted catch, but no U.S. player could finish the bouncing ball inside the six-yard box.
The Mexicans did a nice does a nice job of pressuring the U.S. players and possessing the ball to chip away at time and utilized some severe time-wasting tactics in the second half as they tried to salt the game away. The USA was somehow whistled for 25 fouls to just four on Mexico, which allowed the hosts to slow the game down to a crawl at certain points in the match.
The USA did have its chances to equalize, but struggled to create quality chances throughout the entire game. Wambach’s flying header of a bouncing ball in the 78th minute was well-saved by Venegas, who knocked the ball down and pounced on it.
Mexico’s only good chance of the second half came in the 80th minute, but Lydia Rangel sent a header wide left. Amy Rodriguez put the ball in the Mexican net in stoppage time, but the flag was already up for offside. The USA fired 10 shots to Mexico’s one after the break, but couldn’t pierce Vanegas for a second time.
Wambach suffered a cut on her forehead challenging for a head ball right at the end of regulation and missed the final few minutes of stoppage time as trainers attended to the gash. She is expected to play on Monday against Costa Rica.
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: Nov. 5, 2010
Competition: 2010 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament – Semifinal
Venue: Estadio Beto Avila; Cancun, Mexico
Kickoff: 9 p.m. Local (10 p.m. ET)
Weather: Cool, clear – 60 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
MEX 2 0 2
MEX – Maribel Dominguez 3rd minute
USA – Carli Lloyd 25
MEX – Veronica Perez 27
USA: 18-Nicole Barnhart; 2-Heather Mitts, 6-Amy LePeilbet, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 19-Rachel Buehler (13-Kristine Lilly, 84); 9-Heather O’Reilly (5-Alex Morgan, 60), 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe; 8-Amy Rodriguez, 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 1-Jill Loyden, 4-Yael Averbuch, 11-Lori Lindsey, 16-Ali Krieger, 17-Becky Sauerbrunn
Not available: 12-Lauren Cheney, 14-Stephanie Cox
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage
MEX: 1-Erika Venegas; 2-Kenti Robles (5-Maria de Jesus Castillo, 93+), 4-Natalie Vinti, 13-Natalie Garcia, 15-Luz Saucedo; 7-Evelyn Lopez (17-Tania Morales, 52), 8-Guadalupe Worbis, 11-Lydia Rangel, 9-Maribel Dominguez, 10-Dinora Garza, 18-Veronica Perez
Subs not used: 3-Rubi Sandoval, 6-Monica Vergara, 12-Pamela Tajonar, 16-Liliana Mercado, 20-Cecilia Santiago
Head Coach: Leo Cuellar
Statistical Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 17 / 8
Shots on Goal: 7 / 3
Saves: 1 / 6
Corner Kicks: 5 / 6
Fouls: 25 / 4
Offside: 1 / 3
MEX – Kenti Robles (caution) 42nd minute
USA – Rapinoe (caution) 61
USA – Shannon Boxx (caution) 79
USA – Christie Rampone (caution) 90
Referee: Dianne Ferreira (GUY)
Assistant Referee: Ivonne Ayala (SLV)
Assistant Referee: Flor Escobar (GUA)
Fourth Official: Carol Anne Chenard (CAN)
ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: Carli Lloyd