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January 24, 2010
DiMartino: Mexico has crafty players

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala -- With one more game remaining in the first round of the CONCACAF Under-20 Women's tournament, the United States already has qualified for the semifinals after two games.

The Americans, who play Mexico in their final group match on Monday, need to finish in the top three to clinch a spot in the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. They blanked Trinidad & Tobago in their second Group B match Saturday, 4-0.

“It’s great," U.S. defender Vicki DiMartino said. "Coming off of two wins, 10 goals and zero goals against is great. Our team did very well because Trinidad came out hard, pressuring us. We’re a new team so we’re all coming together and learning each other’s strengths.”

DiMartino, who forged a reputation as a high-scoring forward, played on the backline in the 6-0 and 4-0 wins over Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago, respectively.

The U.S. must defeat Mexico to finish first in the group.

The Americans, who have a far superior goal difference to Mexico, need a win or a tie against its southern neighbor to finish first in Group B and earn a semifinal match-up against the second place team from Group A. Canada is in control of Group A after winning its first two matches. Costa Rica and Guatemala are battling for second place.

“Mexico is always a good team," DiMartino said. "We respect them. They have very crafty players, but hopefully we can come out and just play our game and keep doing what we’re doing.”

DiMartino earned the Silver Boot at the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2008, scoring with the second most goal of the tournament. The U.S. finished second in the event.

The U.S. has a history with Mexico at CONCACAF youth qualifying tournaments.

In 2004 and 2006, the U.S. defeated Mexico in the semifinals of this tournament to earn berths to the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in Thailand and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Russia, respectively.

In 2008, the U.S. defeated Mexico in its final group game to earn first place in the group and a spot in the semifinals, where it defeated Costa Rica for its berth to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile.

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