June 23, 2008
TOP OF THE GROUP
U.S. U-20 women stop Mexico, 3-0
Puebla, Mexico -- The U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team earned the top place in Group A of the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship, defeating host Mexico, 3-0, in front of a hostile crowd at Estadio Cuauhtemoc Sunday.
The U.S. will play Costa Rica, who finished in second place in Group B, at 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday in the semifinals. The other semifinal features Group B winner Canada against Mexico in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader. The semifinal winners, along with the winner of the third-place game will earn one of the region’s three berths to the 2008 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile and a trip to the tournament final on Saturday, June 28.
“Mexico provided a very big test for our team today,” U.S. coach Tony DiCicco said. “Playing Mexico will help us prepare for Costa Rica. Both teams have good, smart and quick players who are dangerous with the ball. So, hopefully playing Mexico today will make us a better team as we head into Wednesday’s game against Costa Rica.”
Three strikers scored for the U.S., with Kelley O’Hara opening the scoring in the 10th minute and Michelle Enyeart and Nikki Washington adding second-half goals.
Just ten minutes into the game, Keelin Winters played the ball through the penalty area to O’Hara. Alone in the box, she beat goalkeeper Erika Venagas to the far post for the eventual game-winner.
In the 67th minute, Enyeart broke through for her tournament-leading sixth goal in three games. She won the ball in the midfield and went on a 40-yard run at goal, beating two defenders and cutting around a third before slotting it past Venegas ead.
The best chance of the night for the home team came in the 75th minute, when Veronica Corral got loose in the box but her shot went high and wide of the far post.
The Americans scored on their last dangerous chance of the game in the 87th minute, when second-half substitute Alex Morgan ran onto a long ball and had just one defender to beat. She touched it over to Washington who beat Venegas to give the U.S. a three-goal advantage.
Mexico had one last chance after whipping a cross into the U.S. box. Christine Nairn was there to head the ball out, but Liliana Mercado pounced on the clearance and ripped a half-volley from 20 yards out that forced a good save from goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who had to back up to her goal line to make the catch for just her second save of the game.