COUVA, Trinidad & Tobago (Jan. 28, 2018) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team battled Mexico to a 1-1 tie through 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of overtime in the title game of the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship before succumbing in penalty kicks by a 4-2 score.
It was the third meeting between the USA and Mexico in the championship game of this tournament and the first time Mexico has come out on top.
Both teams had already qualified for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup by winning their semifinal matches on Friday via penalty kick shootouts. Haiti pulled off a huge result in the Third-Place match to claim CONCACAF’s third and final berth to France, ending Canada’s World Cup dreams with a 1-0 victory.
The USA out-shot Mexico 21-17, had more possession and more corner kicks, but overall, the match was a fairly-even affair with both teams understandably showing tired legs in the latter stages of regulation and overtime after playing five games in 10 and 11 days, respectively.
Mexico’s goal came against the run of play in the 33rd minute on a long free kick that was headed down and into the penalty area to Dayana Cázares who made a nice individual dribble before finishing with equal quality.
Tierna Davidson, who joined the USA mid-tournament after earning her first senior team cap on January 21 against Denmark, came off the bench at halftime and almost immediately equalized, finishing a double-header sequence off a corner kick in the 49th minute for her first international goal at the U-20 level.
Mexico made a push in final stages of regulation time, and earned a bushel of corner kicks, but all were well-defended by the USA. Amanda McGlynn was very good in goal again for the Americans, punching away several dangerous crosses throughout the match.
In the shootout, the USA, going second, got off to a slow start as Brianna Pinto saw her shot saved by Mexico goalkeeper Emily Alvarado after Katty Martinez had converted her country’s first kick. Isabel Rodriguez finished the USA’s second shot, and Tierna Davidson made the fourth, but Alvarado saved the USA’s third shot from Kiara Pickett.
McGlynn could only stop one Mexico penalty and Belén Cruz went right up the middle on Mexico’s fifth and final kick to give her country the regional championship.
Up Next: Up next for the USA will be a trip to France at the end of February for a training camp and several matches. The trip will serve as an excellent test run for the U-20 Women’s World Cup being staged later in the fall.
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Goal Scoring Rundown:
MEX – Dayana Cázares (Katty Martínez), 33rd minute: A long free kick from 10 yards behind the midline near the left sideline was headed forward by Martínez and skipped through to Cázares, who did well to beat a defender to the right and then slid to smash her shot just inside the right post from 13 yards out. USA 0, MEX 1
USA – Tierna Davidson (Civana Kuhlmann), 49th minute: The USA started the second half well and it didn’t take long to equalize off a corner kick from the right side. Isabel Rodriguez bent in a cross that was waved at by Mexican goalkeeper Emily Alvarado. The ball bounced and Kuhlmann, who was a few yards outside the far post, did a fantastic job of keeping it on the field, heading into the middle where Davidson headed home from three yards out and just inside the left post. USA 1, MEX 1 [WATCH] FINAL
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
MEX – Ashley Soto, 11th minute: Civana Kuhlmann worked her way free inside the penalty area on the right side and fired a left-footed shot that was saved by Mexico goalkeeper Emily Alvarado, but she spilled it in front of the goal. Brianna Pinto was first to the rebound and cut it away from the scrambling Alvarado. The ball rolled a short distance to Taryn Torres who fired on goal, but Soto recovered inside the goal mouth and block the ball away for a corner kick with the outside of her right shin.
MEX – Emily Alvarado, 90+1st minute: Sophia Smith almost won the game for the USA in stoppage time, running under a long ball and bringing it down with chest deep inside the box. Her shot from point blank range near the left post was well-saved by Alvarado who held her ground to push the ball away for a corner kick.
- Three U.S. players were named to the Best XI for the tournament: defender Kiara Pickett and midfielders Jaelin Howell and Savannah DeMelo.
- U.S. head coach Jitka Klimkova made five changes from the players who started the semifinal, giving nods to defenders Isabel Rodriguez, Naomi Girma and Karina Rodriguez (right back Kiara Picket was the only player on the back line who started both games), midfielder Brianna Pinto, and forward Taryn Torres.
- The USA has been in the final of this tournament eight consecutive times. There were no semifinals or final staged in the first tournament in 2002 as the group winners qualified for the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup.
- Either the USA or Canada has won the previous seven tournaments staged by CONCACAF at this age level with the USA winning five and Canada two.
- The USA has qualified for this age group’s FIFA tournament in all nine tournaments that have been contested. The first two FIFA tournaments were staged as Under-19 events before moving to U-20s in 2006.
- Both goalkeepers -- Amanda McGlynn for the USA and Emily Alvarado for Mexico – served as captains for their teams. Alvarado won the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper in the tournament.
- The USA’s eight goals in the tournament came from seven different players with Jaelin Howell the top scorer with two goals.
- Klimkova made all three allowed substitutes in the second half, sending on Tierna Davidson for Karina Rodriguez and Ashley Sanchez for Torres at halftime; and Abigail Kim for Civana Kuhlmann in the 72nd minute.
- Jordyn Huitema of Canada won the Golden Boot as the top scorer with five goals.
- Miriam García of Mexico won the Golden Ball as the top player in the tournament.
- U.S. U-20 Women's National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team vs. Mexico U-20 WNT
Date: January 28, 2018
Competition: CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship – Final
Venue: Ato Boldon Stadium; Couva, Trinidad
Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET
Weather: 82 degrees; rainy, wet partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 1OT 2OT F PK
USA 0 1 0 0 1 2
MEX 1 0 0 0 1 4
MEX – Dáyana Cazares (Katty Martínez) 33rd minute
USA – Tierna Davidson (Civana Kuhlmann) 49
USA – Pinto (save), I. Rodriguez (goal), Pickett (save), Davidson (goal)
MEX – Martínez (goal), Rodríguez (save), López (goal), Villegas (goal), Cruz (goal)
USA: 12-Amanda McGlynn (capt.); 17-Kiara Pickett, 5-Isabel Rodríguez, 4-Naomi Girma, 14-Karina Rodríguez (19-Tierna Davidson, 46); 9-Savannah DeMelo, 18-Jaelin Howell, 8-Brianna Pinto; 3-Sophia Smith, 20-Civana Kuhlmann (11-Abigail Kim, 72), 7-Taryn Torres (2-Ashley Sánchez, 46)
Subs not used: 1-Laurel Ivory, 6-Zoe Morse, 10-Samantha Coffey, 13-Tara McKeown, 15-Viviana Villacorta, 16-Kelsey Turnbow
Head coach: Jitka Klimkova
MEX: 1-Emily Alvarado; 2-Ashley Soto, 3-Miriam García, 4-Kim Rodríguez, 5-Jimena López; 7-Dayana Cázares (19-Gabriela Juárez, 72), 6-Andrea Hernández (13-Mia Villegas, 57), 16-Maricarmen Reyes, 11-Jacqueline Ovalle 10-Katty Martínez, 9-Daniela Espinosa (17-Belén Cruz, 89)
Subs not used: 8-Alexia Delgado, 12-Miriam Aguirre, 14-Natalia Villarreal, 15-Samara Alcalá, 18-Norma Palafox, 20-Montserrat Hernández
Head coach: Christopher Cuellar
Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 21 / 17
Shots on Goal: 9 / 6
Saves: 5 / 8
Corner Kicks: 12 / 10
Fouls: 20 / 14
Offside: 7 / 2
MEX – Miriam García (caution) 80th minute
USA – Jaelin Howell (caution) 97
Referee: Carol-Anne Chenard (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Chantel Boudreau (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephanie-Dale Yee Sing (JAM)
4th Official: Crystal Sobers (TRI)
ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: Tierna Davidson