U.S. Women’s National Team Falls 2-0 to Mexico in Group A Finale at 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup

Result Marks USWNT’s Second-Ever Defeat in 43 Matches vs. Mexico; USA Will Look to Rebound in Quarterfinal on March 2 or 3 with Opponent to be Determined by Wednesday

CARSON, Calif (Feb. 26, 2024) – The U.S. Women’s National Team suffered a setback in its 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup group stage finale, falling 2-0 to Mexico as Jacqueline Ovalle gave La Trí the lead in the 38th minute and substitute Mayra Pelayo’s right-footed effort in second-half stoppage time were the difference in earning Mexico just its second-ever win against the USWNT.

With the result, the USA finishes second in Group A and will await the results from Groups B and C over the next two days before learning its opponent for the quarterfinal match to be played Saturday, March 2 or Sunday, March 3, depending on seeding, at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles.

U.S. interim head coach Twila Kilgore made seven changes to the lineup that began Friday’s 4-0 win against Argentina, with Crystal Dunn, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle and Trinity Rodman the four holdovers.

The early first half saw Mexico deploy the 4-5-1 formation well, sitting in their own defensive end and making it difficult for the USA to connect passes in the attacking third. The defensive posture pushed most of the play to midfield through the first half hour, with neither team collecting a shot on target until the 35th minute when Emily Fox cut in from the left and blasted a low, right-footed effort that Mexico ‘keeper Esthefanny Barreras pushed out for a corner kick.

Mexico jumped on the board just three minutes later as Karla Nieto’s ball over the top was won by Ovalle who did well to evade USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher at the top of the box before sending a left-footed chip into the back of the net in the 38th minute. Catching the USA out in transition again, La Trí nearly took a 2-0 lead into half time when Kiana Palacios cut the ball over to Nieto in space on the right where the Mexico attacker rocketed a 22-yard effort that clanged off the cross bar in the first minute of first-half stoppage time.

Kilgore made two substitutions to start the second half, inserting Alex Morgan for Sophia Smith and Emily Sonnett for Lynn Williams.

In the 66th minute, Dunn began a good build-up out of the back, finding Morgan whose laid off pass made its way to Rose Lavelle. The midfielder caught Trinity Rodman speeding up the left and into the box, but Mexico’s Greta Espinoza came through with a good tackle to deny the danger.

Just one minute later, Mexico had another quality chance as Palacios broke into the box on the right and beat two U.S. defenders before sending a right-footed shot that Abby Dahlkemper deflected away. The ball made contact with the U.S. center back’s shoulder, causing the Mexico players to call for a penalty, but referee Melissa Borjas denied the appeals.

The USA pushed for the equalizer in the 78th minute as Lindsey Horan’s cross from the right was swatted by Barreras and fell straight to Rodman at the back post, but the attacker’s low effort back across goal was cleared off the line by Espinoza.

Mexico continued to push for a second goal in the 86th minute, as Mayra Pelayo’s looping right-footed shot from 30 yards forced Naeher to back track before swatting the ball away on the goal line. Diana Ordóñez followed up on the rebound at the right post, but Naeher was equal to it and put it out for a corner kick. 

The USA had a chance in the 89th minute when Morgan flicked on a ball for Rodman down the left, but the U.S. attacker send a low effort just past the right post.

With the USA pushing for an equalizer, Mexico punished the U.S. in second-half stoppage time. La Trí took a throw in from the left sideline and Karen Luna swung a pass to Pelayo. Given a second chance just minutes after Naeher denied her, the substitute dribbled straight at Midge Purce before hitting a stunning shot into the top right corner to ice the 2-0 victory.


MEX – Jacqueline Ovalle, 38th minute: Following a goal kick, Karla Nieto lobbed a ball forward for Ovalle Ovalle. Full of speed, the Mexico attacker intercepted Becky Sauerbrunn’s attempted clearance before shielding the ball from Alyssa Naeher at the top of the box and sending a well-placed chip into the back of the net. USA 0, MEX 1

MEX – Mayra Pelayo (Karen Luna), 90+2 minute: Catching the USA with numbers forward, the ball was played to Mayra Pelayo on the left, who dribbled straight at Midge Purce before unleashing a tremendous right-footed rocket past Naeher and into the top right corner. USA 0, MEX 2 FINAL.

Additional Notes:

  • The USWNT is now 40W-1D-2L against Mexico and 12W-0D-2L in official competitions. The USA’s last defeat to Mexico came in a 2-1 loss in World Cup qualifying on Nov. 5, 2010, in Cancun.
  • Naeher was credited with two saves on the evening as she made her 99th international appearance, one cap away from becoming just the third goalkeeper in USWNT history to reach the 100-cap milestone.
  • The defeat was the USA’s first in regulation time since falling to Germany on Nov. 10, 2022, snapping a 21-game unbeaten streak across all competitions.
  • The match also marked the USA’s first-ever defeat in the state of California.


Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: February 26, 2024
Competition: Concacaf W Gold Cup – Group A
Venue: Dignity Health Sports Park; Carson, Calif.
Attendance: 11,612
Kickoff: 7:15 p.m. PT (10:15 p.m. ET)
Weather: 57 degrees, light rain

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F
USA                             0          0          0
MEX                             1           1          2

MEX - Jacqueline Ovalle                                 38th minute
MEX - Mayra Pelayo (Karen Luna)                90+2

USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 23-Emily Fox (9-Midge Purce, 71), 2-Abby Dahlkemper, 5-Becky Sauerbrunn, 19-Crystal Dunn; 17-Sam Coffey (15-Korbin Albert, 70), 10-Lindsey Horan (Capt.), 16-Rose Lavelle (8-Jaedyn Shaw, 78); 22-Trinity Rodman, 11-Sophia Smith (7-Alex Morgan, 46), 6-Lynn Williams (14-Emily Sonnett, 46)
Substitutes not used: 18-Casey Murphy, 21-Jane Campbell, 3-Jenna Nighswonger, 4-Naomi Girma, 12-Tierna Davidson, 13-Olivia Moultrie, 20-Casey Krueger
Head Coach: Twila Kilgore

MEX: 21-Esthefanny Barreras; 15-Cristina Ferral, 4-Rebeca Bernal (Capt.), 14-Greta Espinoza; 5-Karen Luna, 8-Alexia Delgado (3-Karina Rodriguez, 82), 16-Karla Nieto, 2-Nicolette Hernández; 11-Jacqueline Ovalle (20-Mayra Pelayo, 81), 9-Kiana Palacios (22-Diana Ordoñez, 82), 7-Maria Sanchez (18-Jasmine Casarez, 68)
Substitutes not used: 1-Pamela Tajonar, 12-Itzel Gonzalez, 6-Reyna Reyes, 10-Stephany Mayor, 13-Araceli Torres, 17-Natalia Mauleon, 19-Charlyn Corral, 23-Kimberly Rodriguez
Head Coach: Pedro Lopez

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 9 / 13
Shots on Goal: 1 / 4
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 1 / 9
Fouls: 9 / 9
Offside: 2 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
MEX -- Jacqueline Ovalle (Caution)    29th minute
MEX -- Karen Luna (Caution)               88

Referee: Melissa Borjas Pastrana (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Shirley Perello (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Lourdes Noriega (HON)
4th Official: Mayary Cartagena (GUA)
VAR: Drew Fischer (CAN)
AVAR 1: Tatiana Guzman (NCA)