U.S. U-17 WNT Aims for Second World Cup Berth
CHICAGO (April 12, 2012) â€“ The U.S. Under-17 Womenâ€™s National Team missed out on the 2010 FIFA U-17 Womenâ€™s World Cup, but the squad has a chance to get back to the grand stage when theÂ 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Womenâ€™s Championship takes place May 2-12 in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Due to the 2010 FIFA U-17 Womenâ€™s World Cup being hosted by CONCACAF country Trinidad & Tobago, the confederation had just two qualification berths to that tournament. During CONCACAF qualifying, the USA looked like it was well on its way to being one of those two World Cup-bound teams, but the USA found itself on the wrong side of a shootout loss in the all-important semifinal against Canada after playing to a scoreless draw in regulation and OT. Canada and Mexico claimed the two spots in T&T. All three CONCACAF teams finished third in their groups at the Womenâ€™s World Cup and did not advance to the quarterfinals.
In that 2010 tournament, the U.S. outscored its opponents 38-0 over five matches. The USA opened with a 9-0 victory over Haiti, including four goals from as Lindsey Horan, and followed with a 13-0 victory against the Cayman Islands that included hat tricks from Morgan Brian and Havana Solaun. The USA then walloped host Costa Rica 10-0, with Taylor Smith netting a hat trick. That set the stage for the semifinals, where Canada regularly dropped back seven players to defend the USA attack and keep the match scoreless through 120 minutes. Canada made all five of its penalty kick attempts to top the U.S. 5-3 in the shootout. The U.S. closed out the tournament with a 6-0 victory against Costa Rica, but that third-place game victory was no consolation.
The U.S. U-17s are hoping to have an experience similar to 2008. That year the U.S. took first place in the debut of U-17 CONCACAF qualifying with a 4-1 victory against Costa Rica in the championship game. In group play, the U.S. rolled past Costa Rica 6-0, El Salvador 9-0 and Trinidad & Tobago 9-1. Rachel Nuzzolese had a hat trick against El Salvador and Courtney Verloo did the same against Trinidad & Tobago.
The biggest hurdle came in the semifinals, where the U.S. squeaked out a 1-0 victory against Mexico on the strength of a Crystal Dunn goal. Three days later, the USAâ€™s Tani Costa netted two goals to lead the charge past Costa Rica in the 4-1 championship match and book a ticket to the 2008 FIFA U-17 Womenâ€™s World Cup in New Zealand. CONCACAF advanced three teams to the World Cup that year, with third-place Canada also advancing.