Preview: World Cup Berth At Stake As USA Faces Puerto Rico In Semifinal Of Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship

2022 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship – Semifinal; Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; 3 p.m. ET (FS2, TUDN Digital)

U.S. Under-20 Women’s Youth National Team
2022 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship – Semifinal;
Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic;
3 p.m. ET (FS2, TUDN Digital)
March 10, 2022


WORLD CUP ON THE LINE:

After a well-earned quarterfinal victory vs. Haiti, the U.S. Under-20 Women’s Youth National Team will play for a berth to the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup when it takes on Puerto Rico in its semifinal match on Thursday, March 10. The Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship will send three teams to this summer’s age group world championship – the two semifinal winners plus the third-place match victor. USA-Puerto Rico will be a rematch after the teams faced off in the group stage on Feb. 27, a 7-0 victory for the U.S. 

Thursday’s match will be broadcast live on FS2 and TUDN Digital. Follow the U-20 WYNT throughout the tournament on ussoccer.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

USA VS. PUERTO RICO:

 

● The U-20 WYNT’s 7-0 group stage victory vs. Puerto Rico was the teams’ first-ever  meeting at CWU20. Forward Avery Patterson enjoyed a memorable international debut, tallying four goals to lead the U.S. while defender Emily Mason, midfielder Alexis Missimo and forward Andrea Kitahata also scored.

 

● Patterson’s four-goal outburst was the 18th time in tournament history that a U.S. player scored three or more goals in a match and just the seventh four-goal performance. 

 

● The 16-minute span of her hat trick which featured goals in the eighth, 11th and 24th minutes -- was the fastest for the U.S. at this tournament since 2004. It was also the third-fastest from the opening whistle in that time frame.

 

● This is Puerto Rico’s second appearance at the Concacaf Championship after making its debut in 2020 alongside seven other teams with the expanded tournament format.

 

● The semifinal is a new high watermark for Las Boricuas at the competition. In 2020, PR finished third in Group D and fell in the Round of 16 on penalties to Trinidad and Tobago.

 

● Puerto Rico has called up four players born in 2002, six in 2003, four in 2004, four in 2005 and two in 2006.

 

● Eighteen players on the Puerto Rico roster currently play in the United States, including eight collegiate players. Only one is based in Puerto Rico.

 

● Goalkeeper Ariana Anderson comes from the Dallas-area Solar Soccer Club, where U.S. forward Trinity Byars and Missimo played youth club soccer.

 

● Three Puerto Rican players are teammates at Georgia Southwestern State University.

 

● Six players have scored for Puerto Rico at the tournament, led by forward Brooke Hart, who netted a hat trick in the Round of 16 vs. St. Kitts and Nevis.

SECOND HALF SURGE:

Against Haiti in the quarterfinal, the USA faced its toughest test yet at the Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship, but a strong second half boosted the U-20 WYNT to a 6-0 victory and a spot in the semis. While the U.S. got on the board in the eighth minute off a header from defender Emily Mason, the Haitians’ aggressive defending in a low block limited the USA to just one goal in the first half, its lowest total of the tourney. 

After the break, the relentless U.S. attack wore down Haiti and the floodgates opened with five more goals, all scored by different players. Forward Alyssa Thompson started things off in the 50th, Simone Jackson polished off a lovely long ball from defender Lilly Reale in the 68th and midfielder Talia DellaPeruta hammered home a penalty in the 78th. To cap things off, another well-placed long ball from Reale resulted in a goal for forward Avery Patterson in the 87th and forward Michelle Cooper saw out the score line with a stoppage-time tally. 

PR’S RECORD RUN:

After making its Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship debut with the expansion of the tournament in 2020, Puerto Rico has risen to new heights as a surprise semifinalist in 2022. Las Boricuas finished second in Group E behind the USA, opening the tourney with a 3-1 victory over 2020 fourth-place finisher Dominican Republic and wrapping the group stage with a 1-0 win against Nicaragua. 

In the knockout stage, Puerto Rico rolled St. Kitts and Nevis 7-0, putting the game out of reach with six goals before the halftime whistle. Facing Group H winner Guatemala in the quarterfinals, PR’s Estafania Gonzalez Cintron opened the scoring in the 32nd before Bryanna Pizarro added a penalty in the 41st. Gonzalez Cintron bagged her brace in the 72nd to put the game out of reach and punch Puerto Rico’s ticket to the semis.  

2022 CONCACAF WOMEN’S U-20 CHAMPIONSHIP ROSTER BY POSITION (COLLEGE OR CLUB; HOMETOWN; U-20 CAPS/GOALS)

 

GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Mia Justus (Florida State; Lakewood, Ohio; 4/0), 12-Neeku Purcell (OL Reign Academy; Seattle, Wash.; 2/0)

 

DEFENDERS (7): 14-Lauren Flynn (Florida State; Arlington, Va.; 4/0), 13-Samar Guidry (Virginia; McKinney, Texas; 8/0), 4-Emily Mason (Rutgers; Flemington, N.J.; 11/3), 15-Aidan McConnell (Wisconsin; Dexter, Mich.; 3/1), 3-Ayo Oke (California; Lawrenceville, Ga.; 5/0), 5-Lilly Reale (UCLA; Hingham, Mass.; 4/1), 2-Laney Rouse (Virginia, Cary, N.C.; 5/0)
 
MIDFIELDERS (5): 6-Emily Colton (UNC; Carlsbad, Calif.; 5/3), 20-Talia DellaPeruta (UNC; Cumming, Ga.; 15/3), 17-Sally Menti (Santa Clara; Seattle, Wash.; 3/0), 10-Alexis Missimo (Texas; Southlake, Texas; 5/3), 8-Olivia Moultrie (Portland Thorns FC; Wilsonville, Ore.; 3/1)

 

FORWARDS (6): 18-Trinity Byars (Texas; Richardson, Texas; 5/0), 9-Michelle Cooper (Duke; Clarkston, Mich.; 4/5), 7-Simone Jackson (USC; Redondo Beach, Calif.; 3/3), 19-Andrea Kitahata (Stanford; Hillsborough, Calif.; 4/7), 16-Avery Patterson (UNC; Jacksonville, Fla.; 4/6), 11-Alyssa Thompson (Total Futbol Academy; Studio City, Calif.; 4/3)

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

 

● U.S. forward Andrea Kitahata was not with the team for the team's quarterfinal match vs. Haiti as she returned to Stanford University after the tragic passing last week of her college teammate, former Youth National Team player and Stanford goalkeeper Katie Meyer. Her status for the remainder of the tournament is to be determined.

 

● Nine U.S. players have scored multiple goals during CWU20: Kitahata (seven), forward Avery Patterson (six), forward Michelle Cooper (five), midfielder Emily Colton, forward Simone Jackson, defender Emily Mason, midfielder Alexis Missimo, forward Alyssa Thompson and midfielder Talia DellaPeruta (three each).

 

● Kitahata’s seven goals are tied for the tournament’s scoring lead with Canada’s Olivia Smith.

 

● Fourteen players have registered an assist at the tournament for the USA, led by five from Colton. 

 

● Missimo was shown a yellow card vs. Haiti and could miss the USA’s next game (which will be the championship or the third-place match) if shown a caution vs. Puerto Rico. 

 

● With two games left to play, the USA has 40-0 goal differential in the tournament. In 2020, the last edition of the competition and first with the current format, the USA outscored its opponents 44-1 in seven matches played. 

 

● Defender Laney Rouse is the only U.S. player to start all five games at the tournament. Eight players have appeared in all five matches. 

 

● Samar Guidry’s 382 minutes played lead the team. 

PUERTO RICO ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB/COLLEGE):

 

GOALKEEPERS (2): 12-Ariana Anderson (Solar SC/USA), 1-Jlo Varada Vazquez (Florida/USA)

 

DEFENDERS (7): 2-Michelle Berndt (Florida United/USA), 4-Emma Gonzalez (Orange County SC/USA), 6-Estafania Gonzalez Cintron (Montverde Academy/USA), 15-Iliana Pardo (NC Courage Academy/USA), 3-Bryanna Pizarro (Oregon/USA), 14-Maria Sanabria Buono (Nova Southeastern/USA), 5-Natasha Soto (Angelo State/USA) 

 

MIDFIELDERS (6): 8-Ana Diaz (Georgia Southwestern State/USA), 10-Ivy Garner (Liberty/USA), 17-Lilyana Hernandez (AFC Lightning/USA), 18-Marilia Nieves-Melchor (Charlotte Soccer Academy/USA), 11-Karish Rivera de Jesus (Caribbean Stars/CAN), 19-Laniaya del Valle (FC Prime/USA)

 

FORWARDS (5): 9-Brooke Hart (Georgia Southwestern State/USA), 16-Leyla Molina (Sunrise Prime FC/USA), 20-Alondra Nieves (Georgia Southwestern State/USA), 13-Indigo Sims (D’Feeters Kicks Soccer Club/USA), 7-Jessica Torres (Puerto Rico Sol)


RETURN TO ACTION: The sporting world shut down due to the global COVID-19 pandemic shortly after the 2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship wrapped up on March 8, 2020, canceling the 2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and all Youth National Team programming for the rest of the year. The U-20 WYNT finally returned to the field for its first traditional training camp in October 2021 with a roster of top youth club players, while a squad of standout collegiate players was assembled in December 2021 ahead of World Cup qualifying. Only four players on the WCQ roster had U-20 WYNT international match experience prior to the tournament kicking off, led by midfielder Talia DellaPeruta’s 10 caps.