U.S. Women’s U-20 Youth National Team Defeats Nicaragua 6-0 To Open Concacaf U-20 Women’s ChampionshipForward Andrea Kitahata Records Brace as Five Players Net Their First U-20 WYNT Goals; Head Coach Tracey Kevins Records First Win in Charge of U-20s; 12 Players Earn Their First U-20 Cap in Team’s First International Match Since March 2020
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (Feb. 25, 2022) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s Youth National Team handily defeated Nicaragua 6-0 at Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez in its opening match of the Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship. A brace from forward Andrea Kitahata and goals from midfielder Olivia Moultrie, forwards Michelle Cooper and Simone Jackson, and defender Aidan McConnell led the team to its first three points of the tournament.
The USWYNT’s dominant performance began early as Moultrie, the only professional player on the roster, opened the scoring in just the second minute of the match after a great run of possession play by the USA ended with Cooper on the ball on the left side of the box. The U.S. captain placed a powerful shot on frame which was parried by the goalkeeper, but Moultrie was first to the rebound and slotted it home from six yards out.
The USA scored the second of the night just five minutes later with a dominating attacking display from Cooper to shake off two defenders and ‘round the ‘keeper for her finish from four yards out. Jackson then added the third goal 10 minutes later with an incredible curling strike from 17 yards that stuck into the upper left corner of the net.
The USA dominated all facets of the match and goalkeeper Mia Justus, playing in just her second U-20 international game, had a very quiet afternoon as the USA outshot the Central Americans 32-0.
After coming into the match at halftime, Kitahata made an immediate impact, scoring in the 50th minute when she lobbed the ball on an open net from 11 yards out following a mistake by Nicaraguan goalkeeper Yahoska Garcia. Kitahata then completed her brace in the 64th with a header over the ‘keeper. McConnell rounded out the night with a goal in the 87th minute following a set piece from the left flank. After a VAR check on a potential handball prior to the goal, the first VAR check in the tournament’s history went the USA’s way and the goal stood.
The win serves as the U-20 WYNT’s first step towards qualification for the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, set for this summer in Costa Rica. With the interruption of programming due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, this was the first international match of the 2021-22 U-20 WYNT cycle and first match for this age group since March 2020.
U.S. head coach Tracey Kevins, who earned her first win with the team after her appointment in October, used all five substitutions, bringing the number of players who earned their first U-20 WYNT caps in the match to 12 total, in addition to the seven who earned their first start.
The U-20 WYNT continues Group A play on Sunday, Feb. 27 vs. Puerto Rico (3 p.m. ET) and finishes the group stage on Tuesday, March 1 against host Dominican Republic (6 p.m. ET). All of the USA’s Group A matches will be played at Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez in Santo Domingo. Follow the U-20 WYNT throughout the tournament on ussoccer.com as well as U.S. Soccer Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
USA – Olivia Moultrie, 2nd minute: Following a run of great possession play by the USA, forward Michelle Cooper received the ball in the left side of the penalty box and shot hard on frame. The goalkeeper parried her attempt, but Moultrie was first to the rebound and finished easily from six yards out. USA 1, NCA 0
USA – Michelle Cooper (Emily Colton), 7th minute: Cooper received the ball in the attacking third off a one-touch pass from Colton. She turned and took on two defenders on the dribble, got past them and then rounded the goalkeeper to the left side before shooting into an open net at a sharp angle from four yards out. USA 2, NCA 0
USA – Simone Jackson (Emily Mason), 17th minute: Mason tapped the ball toward Jackson and found her at the edge of the penalty box with her back to goal. Jackson then turned on her first touch and set herself up to curl a powerful strike into upper left corner from 17 yards out for a highlight reel goal. USA 3, NCA 0
USA – Andrea Kitahata, 50th minute – Defender Ayo Oke dribbled up the right flank and sent a cross into the box which the Nicaragua goalkeeper came out to catch, but fumbled as she collided with a defender, leaving the ball for Kitahata right in front of the penalty spot to finish into an open net from 11 yards out. USA 4, NCA 0
USA – Andrea Kitahata (Ayo Oke), 64th minute – Oke again sent a cross into the box from the right side of the field to find Kitahata inside the box. The forward won the aerial duel against her defender with a spinning header which lobbed the ball over the ‘keeper and into the net from 12 yards out to score her second of the night. USA 5, NCA 0
USA – Aidan McConnell, 87th minute – After a free kick from the left flank from midfielder Alexis Missimo, midfielder Talia Dellaperuta fired from inside the box but had her shot blocked by a defender. McConnell was first to the rebound and fired high into the right side of the goal from about 13 yards out to cap the scoring. USA 6, NCA 0
- Portland Thorns FC midfielder Olivia Moultrie’s goal in the second minute marked the U-20 WYNT’s 300th goal at the Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship in the team’s 51st game at the tournament.
- The USA has compiled a 45-2-4 record all-time at this tournament, scoring 305 goals across 11 appearances at the Concacaf Championship, while allowing just 18.
- The tournament opener marked the second meeting between the USA and Nicaragua in women’s soccer at any level. The teams first clashed during the group stage of the 2018 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship in Trinidad and Tobago, a 2-0 victory for the USA.
- Only four players had prior U-20 WYNT caps going into this match. Including tonight’s match, the only players on the roster with more than one U-20 cap are: DellaPeruta (11 caps), defenders Emily Mason (seven) and Samar Guidry (four) plus goalkeeper Mia Justus (two).
-U.S. Under-20 Women’s Youth National Team Match Report-
Match: United States Under-20 Women’s Youth National Team vs. Nicaragua
Date: February 25, 2022
Competition: Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship
Venue: Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Kickoff: 4 p.m. local (3 p.m. ET)
Weather: 83 degrees, partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 3 6
NCA 0 0 0
USA – Olivia Moultrie 2nd minute
USA – Michelle Cooper (Emily Colton) 7
USA – Simone Jackson (Emily Mason) 17
USA – Andrea Kitahata 50
USA – Andrea Kitahata (Ayo Oke) 64
USA – Aidan McConnell 87
USA: 1-Mia Justus; 2-Laney Rouse (3-Ayo Oke, 46), 4-Emily Mason, 15-Aidan McConnell, 13-Samar Guidry; 20-Talia DellaPeruta, 6-Emily Colton, 10-Alexis Missimo, 46), 8-Olivia Moultrie (17-Sally Menti, 63); 7-Simone Jackson, 9-Michelle Cooper (Capt.) (19-Andrea Kitahata, 46), 11-Alyssa Thompson 18-Trinity Byars, 74)
Substitutes Not Used: 12-Neeku Purcell, 5-Lilly Reale, 14-Lauren Flynn, 16-Avery Patterson
Head Coach: Tracey Kevins
NCA: 1-Yahoska Garcia; 14-Leydin Mejia 6-Vanessa Altamirano, 77), 15-Ruth Zeledon (Capt.) (17-Meyling Acuña, 60), 13-Ariana Munguia, 5-Edy Perez; 3-Onix Merlo, 19-Yuliana Aleman (2-Maria Arvizu, 46), 18-Rosa Mena, 8-Aryeri Mejia (4-Adriana Munguia, 46), 16-Massiel Hernandez (7-Ines Navarrete, 70); 9-Niurka Molina
Substitutes not used: 10-Dayana Calero, 11-Paola Maradiaga, 12-Monica Mercado, 20-Xiomara Errington
Head coach: Elna Dixon
Stats Summary: USA / NCA
Shots: 32 / 0
Shots on Goal: 11 / 0
Saves: 0 / 5
Corner Kicks: 5 / 0
Fouls: 5 / 9
Offside: 4 / 1
NCA -- Edy Perez (Caution) 20th minute
Referee: Carly Shaw-Maclaren (CAN)
1st Assistant Referee: Chantal Boudreau (CAN)
2nd Assistant Referee: Carolina Briones (MEX)
4th Official: Priscilla Perez (MEX)
VAR: Adonal Escobedo (MEX)
AVAR1: Francia Gonzalez (MEX)