COLONIA DEL SACRAMENTO, Uruguay (Nov. 14, 2018) – The USA opened its 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup campaign with a solid 3-0 win against a physical Cameroon team in the first Group C match for both teams. In a rollicking contest that featured numerous memorable moments, midfielder Mia Fishel opened the scoring and forward Sunshine Fontes added two more goals while goalkeeper Angelina Anderson was stellar.
The U.S. defense kept a clean sheet – defender Mckenna Morris cleared back-to-back shots out of the goal mouth in the first half – against a Cameroon side that finished the game with nine players after having its goalkeeper and a defender sent off.
A wild first half saw end-to-end play, but the USA had trouble getting forward against a physical Cameroon defense. The U.S. did threaten on set pieces, which proved to be their avenue to the opening goal.
In the aftermath of a 22nd minute set-piece, Cameroon cleared the ball up the field, but a Cameroon player was injured and stayed down near the top of the penalty box. While the Africans lobbied the referee, the USA kept playing, and defender Natalia Staude played short pass to Fishel up the middle. Fishel would have been offside had it not been for the prone Cameroonian defender, but she played the whistle, and raced in on goal. Fishel’s first shot was saved by the goalkeeper, who pushed it squarely of the post. The rebound bounced right back to Fishel and she finished her second chance with composure, pounding her own rebound into the net to make it 1-0.
The goal spurred Cameroon to attack in greater numbers, but the U.S. defense held strong, highlighted by strong play from center backs Staude and Michela Agresti, as well as the goal-saving clearances from Morris.
Tensions continued to rise late in the first half as rough tackles resulted in two yellow cards for Cameroon. The increasingly physical play culminated in a straight red card being shown to Cameroon’s goalkeeper Christemilie Onomo, who flew in the air to cleat midfielder Maya Doms directly in the midsection as she chased a bouncing ball at the top of the penalty box. Referee Casey Reibelt brandished the red card and the USA was fortunate that she also ruled the foul had taken place inside the penalty area. Fontes stepped up and sent the spot kick home to double the U.S advantage to 2-0 just before the half.
While Cameroon created several dangerous chances in the second half, the U.S. defense continued to make nice stops and Anderson made stellar saves in the 69th and 73rd minutes, first tipping a long-range effort over the bar and then parrying away a well-struck shot at the right post.
Fontes clinched the match in the 81st minute with a spectacular 32-yard chip shot that caught substitute goalkeeper Olga Ngo Esse far off her line and billowed the back of the net in the air.
Next up, Group C continues as the USA takes on reigning U-17 Women’s World Cup champion Korea DPR in Colonia on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 12 p.m. ET. The match will be broadcast on FS2 and Universo as well as streamed on TelemundoDeportes.com and the Telemundo Deportes App.
Goal Scoring Rundown
USA – Mia Fishel (Natalia Staude), 22nd minute
After a dangerous ball was played into the penalty box by Sunshine Fontes on a corner kick from the left side, Cameroon cleared it away. As they tried to clear the ball further upfield, a Cameroon player collided in the air with an American and fell to the ground. As Cameroon looked for a whistle from the referee, Natalia Staude played it up the middle to Fishel who found herself against the Cameroon goalkeeper one-on-one. Onomo deflected her first attempt and it hit off the right post before landing back at Fishel’s feet and she buried the follow-up shot into the lower left corner. USA 1, CMR 0
USA – Sunshine Fontes (Penalty Kick), 45+5
Mia Fishel stole a Cameroon pass in midfield and lofted the ball forward to Maya Doms, who was making a run behind the defense. She went up for the 50/50 ball at the edge of the penalty area and Cameroon goalkeeper, who missed her clearance attempt, instead cleated Doms in the midsection. The referee showed Onomo a red card for the challenge and conferred with her Assistant Referee before pointing to the penalty spot. It took the referee a few minutes to sort out the call and by the time Fontes cooly dispatched the spot kick, beating substitute ‘keeper Olga Ngo Esse, it was in the fifth minute of first half stoppage time. USA 2, CMR 0
USA – Sunshine Fontes (Trinity Rodman), 81st minute
The U.S. repelled a Cameroon attack and transitioned up field quickly. Substitute forward Trinity Rodman collected a pass out of the back, carried the ball through midfield and played a leading pass for Fontes to chase into the Cameroon half. After running onto the ball, Fontes spotted Ngo Esse off her line and lifted a beautiful shot over the ‘keeper from 32 yards out that nestled into the back of the net for the final margin. USA 3, CMR 0. FINAL
- The two goals for Sunshine Fontes, the first player from Hawaii to make a Youth Women’s World Cup roster, upped her U.S. YNT career record for U-17 WNT goals to 24 and gave her 22 for the year. She is this cycle’s most-capped player with 30 U-17 international games under her belt.
- The only female U.S. Youth National Team player to score more goals in a calendar year was Kelly Wilson in 2002 when she scored 23 on the way to helping lead the USA to the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup title. Lindsay Tarpley scored 21 international goals that year.
- Mia Fishel’s goal was the sixth international score of her U-17 career in her 27th cap.
- The match marked the first Women’s World Cup match for all of the U.S. players except for forward Jordan Canniff who played in one match at the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan two years ago.
- Canniff made an inspirational comeback from an ACL injury suffered in the spring to make this roster and get the start today.
- U.S. head coach Mark Carr made all three of his allowed substitutes. He sent on forwards Trinity Rodman for Jordan Canniff in the 60th and Isabella D’Aquila for Sunshine Fontes in the 82nd. Midfielder Hannah Bebar replaced Maya Doms in the 74th.
- The victory marked just the second time the USA has won its opening match at the U-17 Women’s World Cup. The USA lost its opening match to Japan (3-2) in 2008 in New Zealand, but advanced to the championship game where it fell in overtime to North Korea. In 2012 in Azerbaijan, the USA drew its opening game 0-0 with eventual champion France. In 2016 in Jordan, the USA defeated Paraguay, 6-1, but then fell to Ghana and eventual runner-up Japan.