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U.S. U-20 WNT Qualifies for FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup With 4-0 Win Over Costa Rica

PUEBLA, Mexico (June 25, 2008) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team earned a berth to the 2008 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup after a 4-0 win over Costa Rica in the semifinal of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament at Estadio Cuauhtemoc in Puebla, Mexico. The U.S. will play rival Canada, 2-1 winners over Mexico in the other semifinal, in the CONCACAF Final on Saturday, June 28, at 2:30 p.m. CT. Fans can follow that game live on’s Match Tracker.

With two of the region’s three berths to the World Cup secured by semifinal victories for the USA and Canada, the two semifinal losers, Mexico and Costa Rica, will fight for a trip to Chile in Saturday afternoon’s third-place match, which kicks off at 12 p.m. CT.

The victory marks the fourth time the USA has qualified for the oldest of FIFA youth world championships for women. The Americans earned berths to all three previous tournaments that have been contested: Canada in 2002 (U-19s), Thailand in 2004 (U-19s) and Russia in 2006 (U-20s).

“Of course we’re happy to be going to the World Cup,” said head coach Tony DiCicco. “It’s very important to win games, but I also want to play to our standard. I have to give credit to Costa Rica, they created a lot of problems for us in the midfield, but we hope to learn from that and play better against (Canada) on Saturday.”

The U.S. scored four goals from four different scorers in the first half, and the defense did the rest, keeping its tournament-long clean sheet intact. Megan Klingenberg, Ingrid Wells and Jessica McDonald all scored their first goals of the tournament, while Kelley O’Hara scored her sixth to tie her for the team and tournament lead.

Klingenberg’s goal came in the fifth minute, and was a culmination of a build up down the wing. The left back started the play by getting the ball into the corner for O’Hara, who made a move around her defender and played the ball across for Alex Morgan. Morgan’s shot attempt was stifled by a defender in the penalty area, but she was able to touch it to Klingenberg, who ripped her shot into the side netting from just 17 yards out.

The U.S. poured on the offense early, taking five shots before finding the back of the net again in the 15th minute. Taking advantage of a long throw in from Morgan, Becky Edwards flicked it across the goal from the near post to Wells, who had timed her run perfectly and just ran straight through the ball to push it across the line and give the USA a 2-0 lead.

Six minutes later, O’Hara made it 3-0. Klingenberg moved into the midfield to pounce on a loose ball and split the defense with a pass to O’Hara, who has scored in each of the USA’s four games of the tournament. O’Hara took a touch to get around Costa Rican goalkeeper Priscilla Tapia and put the ball in the net from a tough angle.

Just two minutes after coming on as a substitute, McDonald put the Americans up 4-0 in the 44th minute with her second touch of the game. Michelle Enyeart started the play by carrying the ball quickly down the wing. She got around a defender at the corner of the box and slotted it across for McDonald, who lunged at the ball and smacked it into the top of the net, giving Tapia no chance.

It was more of the same early in the second half and it looked like the U.S. would increase their lead when Enyeart ran onto a long ball over the top. She sped past the last defender, but had to slow down to get around Tapia, allowing Daniela Cruz to recover and tackle it away before Enyeart could get a shot on the open goal.

The U.S. had another chance in the 62nd minute on a restart from Kaley Fountain, who swung it to the far post for Nikki Marshall. Marshall headed it back across the goal for a wide-open Edwards a foot from the goal line, but the ball somehow stayed out of the net.

The American defense took over from there as Costa Rica turned up their attack. Cristin Granados, who was dangerous all night with the ball at her feet, pounced on a bouncing ball and hit a hard shot that Alyssa Naeher was able to catch on her line. Minutes later, teammate Raquel Cedeno received a ball 40 yards from goal, turned and took a touch forward before ripping the ball just wide.

The USA and Canada met for the championship of the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournaments in both 2004 and 2006. Canada won what was a U-19 event in 2004 by a 2-1 score in overtime while the USA won the 2006 encounter, 3-2.

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

Participants: U.S. Under-20 WNT vs. Costa Rica
Competition: CONCACAF Under-20 Women's World Cup Qualifying
Location: Estadio Cuauhtemoc - Pueblo, Mexico
Date: June 25, 2008
Weather: Chilly, Rainy

Scoring Summary:
          1  2   F
USA  4  0   0
CRC 0  0   0

USA – Meghan Klingenberg (Alex Morgan) 4th minute
USA – Ingrid Wells (Becky Edwards) 15.
USA – Kelley O’Hara (Meghan Klingenberg) 20.
USA – Jessica McDonald (Michelle Enyeart) 44.

USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 19-Kiersten Dallstream, 8-Kaley Fountain, 4-Nikki Marshall, 3-Meghan Klingenberg; 25-Becky Edwards, (11-Christine Nairn, 69) 5-Keelin Winters, 21-Ingrid Wells; 17-Alex Morgan (14-Jessica McDonald, 42), 10-Kelley O’Hara (7-Nikki Washington, 46), 13-Michelle Enyeart
Subs not used: 9-Gina DiMartino, 2-Lauren Fowlkes, 18-Kristin Arnold, 22-Sydney Leroux
Not available: Casey Nogueira, Elli Reed
Head Coach: Tony DiCicco

CRC: 1-Prisilla Tapia: 12-Daniela Cruz, 8-Monica Malavassi, 10-Katherine Alvarado, 11-Raquel Ceden, 2-Gabriela Guillen (20-Wendy Acosta, 29), 16-Yuliana Rodriguez, 14-Silva Betancourt (15-Cristin Granados, 46;19-Maria Fuentes, 89)5-Adriana Rodriguez, 3-Maria Isabel Barquero, 17-Adriana Venegas
Subs Not Used: 4-Sharon Gonzalez, 6-Fabiola Sanchez, 7-Priscila Torres, 9-Paola Alvarado, 13-Jacqueline Mata, 18-Maria Arias, 15-Cristin Granados
Head Coach: Juan Diego Quesada

Misconduct Summary:
CRC – Katherine Alvarado (caution) 17th minute
CRC – Monica Malavassi (caution) 39.
USA – Becky Edwards (caution) 51.

Statistical Summary:
Shots 16 / 8
Shots on Goal 7 / 2
Saves 2 / 3
Corner Kicks 3 / 1
Fouls 5 / 15
Offisides 3 / 2

Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Meghan Klingenberg