“It was amazing, but it was painful,” said U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team goalkeeper Amanda McGlynn.
It was exactly where she wanted to be -- at the bottom of a dogpile after helping the U.S. U-20 WNT to a dramatic World Cup-clinching victory.
When it comes to high-pressure situations in the game of soccer, nothing quite matches a penalty kick shootout. When there’s a World Cup berth on the line, it can be more suffocating than 19 teammates piled on top of you.
That’s where McGlynn found herself after 90 hard-fought minutes against Haiti in the semifinal of the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship. Once the final whistle blew, the game went straight to PKs. McGlynn rose to the occasion, saving two kicks while Haiti missed another. The result punched the Americans’ ticket to the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in France.
“When we won that game, seeing everyone’s faces, it was just amazing,” McGlynn said. Everyone came at me. I was like ‘Don’t fall, don’t fall,’ but I just fell and suddenly everyone was in a big pile. It was so surreal at that moment. It’s a dream come true.”
She’s always believed in herself and her abilities. So has U-20 WNT head coach Jitka Klimkova. Now, McGlynn has the big-game credentials to match. The CONCACAF Championship tournament saw McGlynn anchor the USA in some of its most-crucial moments. She’s gained the full trust of her teammates and boosted her own confidence to new heights.
“She needed the experience of playing in important games, she needed to realize that she can play in these big games,” Klimkova said. “She really feels the support from her teammates. If you are new to the program, everyone is waiting to see what the player can do on the field. Every training session showed us that her performance is consistent and really high-quality.”
Before her trip to Trinidad, McGlynn had started just two games for the USA, against Northern Ireland at the U-18 level and against Brazil with the U-20s at December’s Nike International Friendlies. In Trinidad, McGlynn started four of the USA’s five games, highlighted by the all-important semifinal.
“For her, it’s just confirmation that she’s doing things really well,” Klimkova said. “Here, she’s been able to see how she can perform at the international level. It should raise her confidence. I hope she will just take this experience for her advantage and keep doing everything that she’s doing. She’s training hard, she’s very coachable, she wants to improve. She has the right direction.”
While McGlynn made some highlight-reel saves over the course of the tournament, she truly proved her mettle in the penalty kick shootout against Haiti. But even prior to those crucial moments, the same scenarios played out in training and gave McGlynn the opportunity to test her fortitude. The U-20s frequently practice their penalty kicks, and McGlynn always shined in those sessions.
“Her performance in that shootout wasn’t surprising, that’s how she performed during the training,” Klimkova said. “That’s her strength. We knew having Mandy during that moment against Haiti really could help the team. She’s consistent with it. Every session, she challenged every player who took a PK.”
McGlynn felt well-prepared for a shootout, but a Haitian equalizer in second half stoppage time forced the game to penalty kicks and rattled her confidence. Laurel Ivory, the other goalkeeper on the roster in Trinidad, brought her back up.
“Before I went out there, my emotions were everywhere, but Laurel and I had a really great moment,” McGlynn said. “She said ‘You got this, we believe in you. Forget what happened, this is your time. Her belief in me boosted my confidence.”
The USA kicked first in the decisive shootout and Sophia Smith saw her shot saved. The ball rolled just outside the six-yard-box on the deflection and when McGlynn headed to the goal, she went out of her way to pick it up and place it back on the spot. On her roundabout walk-up, she never broke eye contact with the first Haitian shooter. A few seconds later, her shot went wide left.
“I truly believe one of the reasons she missed was the intimidation factor,” McGlynn said. “I was just really in my zone. I tried to show them that I was ready. When I went out there, I was just thinking ‘don’t let them score, I’m not going to let them score again.’”
Taryn Torres hammered home her PK to give the USA a 1-0 lead and McGlynn once again teed the ball up for Haiti. This time, she read the approach perfectly, diving to her left and reaching an arm up to deflect the attempt. Jaelin Howell put the U.S. up 2-0 and McGlynn followed the conversion with another save.Her efforts set-up Zoe Morse to take the game-winning PK. Morse finished with class to send the USA to the World Cup. Next stop: dogpile.
“At that moment, I just wanted to hug my teammates and celebrate,” McGlynn said. “I knew she needed to make that PK for us to go through. First, I had my head down. I was like ‘I can’t watch.’ But I thought, this is going to be a moment I will have forever, I have to watch. She did her job and put it away. Every emotion just came rushing out of my body.”
With the World Cup on the horizon, McGlynn will now focus on adding to her experience as she prepares for even better opponents and tougher matches. The Jacksonville, Florida native will spend this semester taking online classes and training with the NWSL’s Orlando Pride with an eye towards more dogpiles in the future.
“My confidence has skyrocketed,” McGlynn said. “When you get more playing time, you feel more comfortable with your role on the team. You feel more confident in yourself and what your talents are. It’s a great key to have going forward.”Read more
COUVA, Trinidad & Tobago (Jan. 26, 2018) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team allowed a dramatic stoppage time equalizer but then showed tremendous character to keep its cool in penalty kicks, winning 3-0 in the shootout to defeat Haiti and earn a berth to the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
USA midfielder Jaelin Howell scored in the 75th minute, but then the USA allowed Haiti forward Nerilia Mondesir’s equalizer with just a minute left of the three in second half stoppage time, and regulation ended in a 1-1 draw. The match then went directly to penalty kicks with the USA converting three out of their four attempts while Haiti missed its first kick and saw its final two saved by U.S. goalkeeper Amanda McGlynn, who also made two huge saves during regulation.
The USA’s first penalty kick, taken by forward Sophia Smith, was saved, but forward Taryn Torres, Howell and defender Zoe Morse all converted high-pressure kicks to send the young Americans to France.
The game-winning goal was perhaps extra special for Morse, who missed the deciding penalty kick in the semifinal of the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship, resulting in the USA’s elimination from the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. CONCACAF had just two berths for that U-17 Women’s World Cup, which was held in Costa Rica.
The match marked the first minutes of the tournament for defender Tierna Davidson, who joined the squad at the end of group play after earning her first senior team cap on January 21 against Denmark in San Diego, where she played the entire 90 minutes and picked up an assist on the game-winning goal in the USA’s 5-1 victory. Davidson played a tremendous match in the center of the defense and blocked a dangerous Haiti chance inside the penalty area early in the game.
Haiti had several quality scoring chances on the day and played with tremendous fight in what was by far its best-ever result and performance against the USA, but the Americans’ goal in the 75th minute was well-deserved. The USA had missed open nets on three occasions during the match.
Haiti scored its equalizer while playing a woman down after defender Emeline Charles was issued her second yellow card in the 83rd minute for clattering into substitute Brianna Pinto from behind.
Mondesir quickly went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, hitting her team’s first penalty kick wide left. McGlynn then saved the next two. McGlynn’s first save was her best as she moved to her left and spectacularly palmed away Daelle Dumorany’s well-hit shot with her left hand. McGlynn also guessed correctly on her second save, taking a small step to her right to smother the shot of Roseline Eloissaint, setting the stage for Morse’s clutch winner.
The win has qualified the USA for this age group’s FIFA tournament for the ninth consecutive time. The first two tournaments were staged as Under-19 events before moving to U-20s in 2006.
Up Next: The USA will face the winner of the Canada-Mexico semifinal for the regional title on Sunday, Jan. 28 (4 p.m. ET; UDN, CONCACAF YouTube). The USA will aim to win its sixth overall CONCANCAF title for this age group and fifth in a row.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Jaelin Howell, 75th minute: After a long period of sustained pressure in the middle of the second half, the USA finally broke through with 15 minutes left. A long ball into the Haiti defensive third was brought down by Savannah DeMelo as she fell. Sprinting forward, Howell won the ball with her head, pushing it forward into the penalty area and then fired powerfully at goal from just inside the 18-yard box. Haiti goalkeeper Kerly Théus saved the shot, but the rebound went straight back to Howell, who powered her second chance through the goalkeeper’s legs and into the net for what seemed to be the game-winner. USA 1, HAI 0 [WATCH]
HAI – Nerilia Mondesir (Daelle Dumornay), 90+2 minute: Playing a player down, Haiti equalized with a minute to go in stoppage time as Dumornay lifted a ball over the U.S. defense and Mondesir got behind the USA back line. She raced into the penalty box and surrounded by U.S. defenders, knocked the ball on goal with her right knee, lifting it over U.S. goalkeeper Amanda McGlynn, who got a hand on it, but could not turn it away. USA 1, HAI 1 [WATCH] FINAL
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Amanda McGlynn, 13th minute: On Haiti’s first dangerous foray into the USA’s penalty area, Sherly Jeudy got behind the U.S. defense and McGlynn had to come off her line quickly to smother the one-on-one chance.
HAI – Kerly Théus, 41st minute: Sophia Smith did well to beat a few defenders at the top of the penalty box and then fired a shot on goal that was brilliantly-saved by Théus as she flew to push the ball over the crossbar.
HAI – Kerly Théus, 45+1st minute: Jaelin Howell’s header off a corner kick was dropping just under the crossbar, but another leaping save from Théus kept the game scoreless.
USA – Amanda McGlynn, 87th minute: With the USA holding a 1-0 lead, Dumornay fired a shot from 25 yards out that was dipping under the crossbar before McGlynn flew backwards and tipped the ball over the bar.
- The USA has made 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.
- The USA’s seven goals in the tournament have come from six different players with Howell the top scorer with two goals.
- The goal was Howell’s second of her U-20 career.
- Haiti’s goal was its first ever against the USA.
- It was also only the second goal the USA has ever allowed in its eight semifinal games of this tournament.
- U.S. head coach Jitka Klimkova made all three allowed substitutes in the second half, sending on midfielder Brianna Pinto for Viviana Villacorta in the 52nd minute, Taryn Torres replaced Civana Kuhlmann in the 73rd and Samantha Coffey went on for Ashley Sanchez in the 88th minute.
- It was the lowest scoring semifinal ever for the USA at this tournament.