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July 19, 2009
U-17 WNT wins 1st-ever World Cup qualifier

MACOYA, Trinidad – The United States Under-17 Women’s National Team defeated Costa Rica, 6-0, in the team’s first-ever FIFA World Cup Qualifying match Friday evening at Marvin Lee Stadium. The U.S. used two goals each from Samantha Mewis and Courtney Verloo, and one apiece from Julia Roberts and Victoria DiMartino, to kick off Group A at the 2008 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship.

It took only three minutes for sisters Kristen and Samantha Mewis to make history. Kristen Mewis ran down a ball on the left flank and was taken down by a Costa Rican defender. The midfielder deftly crossed a free kick into the area and through the hands of goalkeeper Priscilla Tapia to Samantha, who knocked it into the goal.

Kristen Mewis was also a part of the second goal 15 minutes later, when she ran the ball up the left side and passed it into the center for DiMartino. DiMartino held on to the ball, pulling Tapia off her line and dishing it to her right for a wide-open Verloo, who faced Tapia and slid the ball past her out-stretched left foot and into the lower left corner of the goal.

DiMartino had her first look at the goal in the 25th minute, after a nice run by Erika Tymrak. Tymrak carried the ball up the middle of the field and slid it out to DiMartino on the right, just outside the area. DiMartino dribbled into the 18-yard box and fired a shot past Tapia, but the ball defender Gabriela Guillén’s played it off the line with her outstretched arm. Referee Dianne Ferreira-James wasted no time in showing the shocked Guillén the red card, leaving Costa Rica on the field with 10 women.

Roberts stepped up to the spot for the U.S. and sent her penalty shot just to the right of Tapia, who managed to get a hand on the ball but wasn’t able to stop the shot from going in.

The young U.S. team did well to keep control of the ball throughout the game, while Costa Rica tried repeatedly to pressure the team all over the field. Verloo felt the pressure in the 37th minute, when she received the ball on the left side with a defender right on her back. Verloo managed to turn with the ball, face the defender and beat her one-on-one with some quick footwork, sending in a cross. The ball soared across the goalmouth, right to DiMartino, who slammed home a header at the far post.

Costa Rica got their first real attempt to score in the 43rd minute, just before the end of the first half. Raquel Rodríguez Vazquez got the ball at the top of the area and was unmarked and ready to make a mad dash for the U.S. goal. She wasn’t counting on U.S. goalkeeper Alexa Gaul’s quickness. Gaul stepped off her line and smothered the attempt at Rodríguez Vazquez’s feet, before the forward could even get a shot off.

The U.S. didn’t make any substitutes at the beginning of the second half, which worked just as well. In the 49th minute, Verloo put in her second goal of the match, capitalizing on a cross that Samantha Johnson flicked with her head, right onto Verloo’s path.

Samantha Mewis sealed the score for the United States in the 54th minute, when Verloo chased down a ball on the right side of the field, beating a defender to it. Verloo calmly played the ball back into open space at the top of the 18-yard box, where Samantha stepped up to blast in a shot that flew past Tapia and into the upper left corner of the net.

The U.S. controlled the tempo for the rest of the match, moving the ball around the field and using the available space. Costa Rica did well to pressure the team, even getting three shots on goal, but was unable to create much danger.

“Winning the first game of a tournament of this nature is very important for us,” head coach Kazbek Tambi. “The team played very well, they ball moved very well today and we scored on some nice combination plays. Even though the score was 6-0, Costa Rica is an excellent team. They are technically proficient and their forwards can hold the ball very well. We just happened to score some very good goals, but I still believe they are a quality opponent.”

the U.S. lkeads Group A with three points heading into their second match of the tournament, Sunday against El Salvador (4 p.m. ET).

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