"We had to win this one to get to the gold medal game," Marcia Wallis said. "I think we played pretty well. We had a couple of bad breaks with balls bouncing off the crossbar. But we have to be happy with this win and look to the next game because that is why we're here."
The United States advanced with goals from their two leading scorers, starting forwards Marcia Wallis and Kim Patrick.
Just as the United States did in their first match with Costa Rica - a 6-0 U.S. win - the U.S. jumped on top early, with Anna Kraus setting up Wallis in the 5th minute for Wallis' seventh goal of the tournament.
Kraus' cross from the right wing found Wallis at the six yard box and Wallis' darting header into the upper left corner of the goal gave goalkeeper Herra Rojas no chance to make a save.
Again it was Kraus who orchestrated the build-up that led to the USA's second goal, springing Wallis down the left sideline with a well-placed through ball. Wallis played a ball square into the penalty area that Patrick one-timed into the net from six yards out. It was Patrick's sixth goal of the tournament.
The U.S. had several opportunities to extend the lead in the second half, but the finishing that produced 19 goals in the first four matches was not evident today. The U.S. outshot Costa Rica 22-0 in the second half and did not have a goal to show for their efforts.
The Americans kept Rojas busy all afternoon, and she was up to the task in the second half. Rojas kept the score respectable with a one-on-one save on Wallis in the 48th minute, the most difficult of Rojas' 13 saves in the game.
Becky Myers caused Costa Rica problems all afternoon, terrorizing the defense from her right midfield position. After nearly scoring on a header in the first half, Myers had a header saved off the line by a Costa Rica defender in the second half. In the 65th minute Myers served a perfect cross to Andi Sellers but Sellers' header from 10 yards out hit the crossbar and was cleared to safety.
The U.S. hit the crossbar or goal post five times in the match.
Costa Rica did not record a shot in the second half and at no time in the game did they control the ball in the U.S. penalty area.
"I think all of us feel really good right now," U.S. defender Nandi Pryce said. "We've been preparing ourselves for this for a while. We are excited about being here."
U.S. midfielder Jena Kulegel, who had started the team's first four games in the tournament, sat out the game after injuring her left knee in Saturday's 3-0 win against Canada. Kluegel's status for the tournament final is still unknown.
With the win the United States advances to the first-ever Pan American Women's Soccer Tournament final. The United States has won two other inaugural women's soccer championships this decade, the Women's World Cup in 1991 and the Olympics in 1996.
1999 U.S. UNDER-18 WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Under-18 Women's National Team vs. Costa Rica|
|Competition:||1999 Pan American Games, Semifinal|
|Venue:||Winnipeg Soccer Complex - Field B (Winnpeg, Canada)|
|Date:||Aug. 2, 1999 (kickoff 10:00 a.m. - local time)|
USA - Marcia Wallis, (Kraus), 6,
USA - Kim Patrick, (Wallis), 24.
USA - 18-Lauren Whitt, 3-Nandi Pryce, 5-Anna Kraus (Capt.), 6-Karyn Hall, 14-Catherine Reddick, 9-Becky Myers, 8-Lori Lindsey, 13-Lauren Molinaro (7-Jennifer Lewis, 71), 21-Tara Comfort (4-EmilyTaggert, 56), 11-Kim Patrick (16-Andrea Sellers, 61), 12-Marcia Wallis.
CRC - 20-Herra Rojas, 17-Karina Lopez, 4-H. Barrantes (Capt.), 2-Laura Palma, 6-F. Guadamuz, 7-Emila Solano, 8-Ana Campos, 10-Ericka Castro (14-Silvia Quesada,79), 11- Murcia Diaz, 12-Melissa Lopez, 15-Monica Chavez.