USA Meets Mexico in Quarterfinal of 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup
USA AND MEXICO MEET IN QUARTERFINALS AT 2016 FIFA U-20 WWC: After winning the most difficult group in the 2016 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup by the slimmest of margins, the USA will face a familiar foe in the quarterfinals. With the round of eight match-ups featuring Asia vs. Europe (Korea DPR vs. Spain), Asia vs. South America (Japan vs. Brazil) and Europe vs. Europe (an epic France-Germany clash), it will be CONCACAF vs. CONCACAF on Nov. 25 at 1 a.m. ET (FS1 and telemundo.com) as the USA and Mexico meet for the first time in a Women’s World Cup. The match will be played at the 15,000-seat Sir John Guise Stadium, the same venue where the USA drew 1-1 with Ghana on Nov. 21, which is named after a famed Papua New Guinea politician and Governor General. Like all the matches of the tournament, USA vs. MEX can also be watched on FOX Sports GO and FOXSoccer2Go. Fans can follow all the matches of the U.S. U-20s on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt. For full coverage, visit the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup tournament page on ussoccer.com.
WATCH THE USA U-20 WNT ON FOX SPORTS; FOX PROVIDING FREE WEB STREAM OF 2016 FIFA U-20 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: All four of the quarterfinals, both semifinals, the third-place match and the championship game will be shown on FS1. All matches are also available for live and on-demand streaming via the FOX Sports GO app, the FOX Soccer 2GO app and online at FOXSportsGO.com and on-demand at FOXSoccer2GO.com. Fans can enter a free promo code to watch the games on the FOXSoccer2Go.com registration page. The promo code is “U20WNT” and is valid for entry on foxsoccer2go.com/buy until December 3 for free access to FOX Soccer 2Go without credit card payment required. In addition, the NBC family of networks will show all 32 matches in Spanish on TelemundoDeportes.com and the En Vivo App or on NBC Universo.
U.S. ROSTER NOTES
- Against Ghana, Mallory Pugh scored her second goal of the tournament and 19th in 26 caps for the U-20s with her 22nd minute tally.
- For the third match in a row, the USA made all three of its substitutes in the second half as head coach Michelle French brought on midfielder Parker Roberts in the 75th minute, forward Ally Watt in the 81st and defender Natalie Jacobs in the 89th.
- With the game’s opening goal against New Zealand, Ashley Sanchez became the first U.S. Youth Women’s National Team player to score in both a FIFA U-17 and U-20 World Cup in the same year. She scored against Paraguay and twice against Japan in group play at the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup held in Jordan this past October.
- Kristie Mewis is the only other U.S. player to score in both a U-17 and U-20 Women’s World Cup, but she did it two years apart. Mewis’ two goals in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup came in 2008 in New Zealand and her goal in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup came in Germany in 2010.
- Sanchez’s goal vs. New Zealand was her fifth at the U-20 level.
- Ally Watt’s goal against New Zealand was her sixth at the U-20 level. She scored just three minutes after entering the match in the 79th minute. Watt has come off the bench in all three matches so far, playing 34 total minutes.
- Fifteen of the 18 field players on the U.S. roster have seen action through the first two games.
- Six players have played all 270 minutes: Maddie Elliston, Ellie Jean, Casey Murphy, Emily Ogle, Taylor Otto and Kaleigh Riehl. Mallory Pugh and Ashley Sanchez have played almost the whole three games at 269 and 268 minutes, respectively.
- All four of the USA’s starting defenders have played every minute of all three matches.
- The USA and France have allowed two goals in the tournament so far while Germany and Japan have allowed just one each, best of any of the 16 teams.
- Midfielder Katie Cousins did not play in the first match, but has played all 180 minutes of the last two group games and earned Player of the Match honors vs. Ghana.
- The USA entered the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup having compiled a record of 15-4-3 over this two-year cycle in international matches. Two of the four losses were to youth WNT power Japan.
- Team captain Mallory Pugh, in her second U-20 WNT cycle, is the most capped player on the roster with 26 U-20 international matches and the top scorer with 19 goals, but 19 players on the roster have 10 or more U-20 caps.
- Pugh was the youngest player on the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup Team, where she started all four games, and is age-eligible to play in the 2018 tournament as well.
- Pugh currently has 17 caps and four goals for the full WNT, which includes her goal against Colombia in the 2016 Olympics that made her the youngest American soccer player to score in an Olympic Games.
- Pugh led the team with seven goals and four assists in CONCACAF U-20 qualifying, where she won the Golden Boot as top scorer and the Golden Ball as the best player.
- Thirteen players on the roster have scored international goals, including Jessie Scarpa (6), Ally Watt (6), Ashley Sanchez (5), Marley Canales (4), Kelsey Hedge (4), and Emily Fox (3).
- Of the 20 players who helped the USA win the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship and qualify for the World Cup last December (a tournament that was held during the college season, making several players unavailable), French chose 13 for the World Cup roster. Those players are: Canales, Chandler, DeMelo, Flores, Fox, Hedge, Heinsohn, Jacobs, Otto, Pugh, Roberts, Sanchez and Scarpa.
- The age cut-off date for this Women’s World Cup is players born on or after Jan. 1, 1996. Eight of the 21 players selected by French were born in 1996, eight were born in 1997, four in 1998 and one in 1999. The four ‘98s – DeMelo, Heinsohn, Fox and Pugh, as well as Sanchez, are age-eligible for the 2018 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in France.
- Sanchez, who captained the USA at the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan while scoring three goals, is the youngest player on the team and the only one born in 1999. Sanchez had three goals with five assists at the CONCACAF U-20 qualifying tournament and scored the game-winning goal in the championship game win against Canada.
- Fourteen different states are represented, led by California with four players and Virginia with three. New Jersey and Colorado have two each.
- Nine different colleges are represented on the roster, led by Penn State with five players. Notre Dame and North Carolina each have two players.
- The roster includes five players who helped Penn State win the NCAA Championship in 2015 in defenders Kaleigh Riehl, Madeline Elliston and Ellie Jean, midfielder Emily Ogle, and Rose Chandler, who was a back-up ‘keeper.
- Just five players on the roster have yet to start college with the rest having played at least one season so far (aside from Taylor Otto, who has started college but has yet to play a college match). The players who have yet to start college are UCLA commits Mallory Pugh and Ashley Sanchez, goalkeeper Brooke Heinsohn, who is headed to Duke, midfielder Savannah DeMelo (USC) and defender Emily Fox (UNC).
- Besides Pugh, two other players were on the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup roster in defender Kaleigh Riehl and goalkeeper Rose Chandler, but neither played in the tournament.
- Chandler earned the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper during the qualifying tournament and Riehl has been a steady leader of the backline during 2016.
- Goalkeepers Casey Murphy and Brooke Heinsohn, who are both 6-foot-1, are the tallest GKs to represent the USA in a Women’s World Cup.
- Murphy has played the most games in goal for the USA this year with 11, starting 10, Chandler has played six times this year, starting four.
- Nine members of the U.S. team that won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup also won a U-20 Women’s World Cup. They are Lori Chalupny, Ashlyn Harris and Heather O’Reilly (2002), Meghan Klingenberg, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan and Alyssa Naeher (2008), and Julie Johnston and Morgan Brian (2012). Current U.S. WNT players Samantha Mewis, Kealia Ohai and Crystal Dunn also won a U-20 WWC in 2012.
U.S. U-20 WNT – USA vs. MEX Pre-Game Quotes:
U.S. head coach MICHELLE FRENCH
On the result against Ghana which won the USA Group C:
“We knew coming into the game that Ghana was going to be extremely unique and athletic in everything that they did. We tried to put together a game plan to give ourselves the best chance to deal with their speed up top, with their one-v-one savviness on the ball and our back line against did a tremend9ous job. Our response to their goal two minutes later was a massive turning point in regards to our confidence and belief and that’s a valuable lesson we’re going to learn from this game moving forward in this tournament.”
On Group C:
“Every game in our group was difficult and challenging. Each team was extremely different from each other. I couldn’t be more proud of how these players bought into what we asked them to do. It’s tremendous feat for them to do so well in the group and we still have our best soccer ahead of us.”
“We had to navigate through an extremely difficult group. We came out of the group phase with the knowledge of how resilient this group can be. After getting scored on, the response was within five-to-six minutes collectively so we learned how coachable this group is. Their ability to take information and translate it to the field is tremendous.”
On facing Mexico in the quarterfinal:
“It will be a competitive and spirited match. The last time we played them we tied them 2-2 at qualifying so I can’t help but think they are going to come into this game with a lot of confidence. Any time you are able to reach the quarterfinals of a world event, you have to be doing something extremely well. We have to identity those things that Mexico does well, prepare our team for any scenario that may potentially happen and put our best foot forward when we play them.
“Going into the quarterfinal game, we know that Mexico will be a formidable opponent for us. Our countries know each other extremely well. There’s a lot of history, whether it’s with the women’s team, the U-20s or the U-17s. We’ve seen the growth of Mexico over the last few years as they’ve started to close the gap, as have all the CONCACAF teams. The last time we played them it was 2-2 at qualifying and we were actually up 2-0, so we know the fight and determination they play with and that’s the first thing that we have to match.”
U.S. defender KALEIGH RIEHL
On navigating a difficult group stage:
“We did really well. We did what we needed to go come out on top and it was exciting to finish first because it was such a challenging group. The three games we played were extremely important. It was the first World Cup games for a lot of us and knowing we can compete and play at this level was great for our confidence.”
On facing Mexico:
“We’re obviously super excited. We’ve put a lot of time and effort and hard work into this and we know coaching staff has as well. We’re prepared and we’re ready.”
“We’ve seen Mexico in qualifying and prior to that we saw them in the NTC tournament. They are familiar to us I think we can expect a battle. Nothing is easy in this stage of the tournament so we’re going to go out there and compete and bring a lot of energy.”
U.S. defender ELLIE JEAN
On navigating a difficult group stage:
“It was awesome that we got to play three very different teams in the group stage. We had physical teams that we played which was great to help us get to the elimination rounds. That’s something we’ve really tried to work on, our physical presence. France was very technical so we had to deal with a team like that and tactically we just had to be aware of everything they were doing so that prepared us. New Zealand was an all-round great team and we know how hard Ghana is to play against, so we’ve just been trying to deal with everything that’s been thrown at us. I think we’ve done really so far so we are really excited for our next game.”
“It was great to get group stage out of the way. I think we all had a lot of nerves coming into this tournament of course, but we are really starting to get a hold of things here. We gained a lot of confidence from our group games and are ready to head that into the quarterfinals. We’re really excited to still be here and we’ll see what the next game brings.”
On facing Mexico:
“I expect it to be a great match. We’ll both show a lot of passion and it will be very intense. They are a great team so of course we have to be tactically and mentally aware for the whole 90 minutes."
BY THE NUMBERS
1.15 Goals allowed per international match by the U.S. U-20s this year
2.23 Goals scored per international match by the U.S. U-20s this year
7 Goals scored by Mallory Pugh in CONCACAF qualifying to lead the team
8 U-19/U-20 Women’s World Cups for which the USA has qualified
16 U.S. players that have seen action in the 2016 FIFA U-20 WWC
19 U-20 International goals for Mallory Pugh
26 Career U-20 caps for Mallory Pugh, the most on this Women’s World Cup roster
31 Players to see action in a U.S. U-20 international match this year
29 Goals scored by the USA in 13 international matches this year
1080 Minutes played in international matches this year by Kaleigh Riehl, most on the team
IN FOCUS: MEXICO
Mexico Football Federation
Head Coach: Roberto Medina
Best FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Finish (Seventh appearance): Quarterfinals
USA VS. MEXICO SERIES
- This will be the first meeting between the USA and Mexico in any Women’s World Cup, but the teams have met twice in the first year of this cycle in 2015. Mexico participated in the 2015 NTC Invitational in Carson, Calif., and at that tournament in June the USA won 1-0 on a goal from Mallory Pugh.
- The teams met again in December in the opening game of the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship, drawing 2-2 as the USA took a 2-0 lead on goals from Pugh (via a penalty kick) in the 20th minute and Emily Fox (on an assist from Pugh) in the 22nd. Mexico stormed back to draw on a 32nd minute goal from Bianca Solis and a 65th minute score from Kiana Palacios.
- Just six players on the USA’s 2016 World Cup roster who have started a game in this tournament played in that match in Honduras and 10 total players on the USA’s World Cup roster saw action that day. Eleven players on Mexico’s roster played in that match
- Mexico qualified for the quarterfinals by finishing second in Group D behind Germany.
- Mexico got off to a solid start in the tournament, defeating the Korea Republic 2-0 on goals from Jacqueline Crowther and Kiana Palacios. Mexico then lost 3-0 to Germany and needed a positive result in its final match against Venezuela to go through. Mexico stormed out to a 3-0 lead on two goals from Palacios and one from Teresa Gonzalez before Venezuela scored twice for the final 3-2 margin. Mexico scored twice on corner kicks in that match.
- Mexico has been a regular participant in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, missing out on just one occasion (Thailand 2004), and is making its seventh appearance. Mexico has been eliminated in the group phase four times and reach the quarterfinals three times.
- Mexico advanced to the semifinals of the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship after drawing 2-2 with the USA to open the tournament. Mexico beat Panama and Haiti to finish second in the group but lost to Canada on penalties after a goalless draw in normal time. Mexico earned its place in PNG with a victory over Honduras in the match for third-place.
- The only two goals Mexico allowed during qualifying were to the USA.
- Nine players on Mexico’s roster play in the USA or are Mexican-Americans, including seven who play NCAA Division I soccer.
- Defender Monica Flores is the twin sister of U.S. defender Sabrina Flores. Both play at Notre Dame.