November 5, 2010
CALAMITY IN CANCUN
U.S. Women stunned by Mexico, 2-1
CANCUN, Mexico—For the first time ever, the United States Women’s will not be one of the two teams advancing to the Women’s World Cup from the CONCACAF qualifying tournament.
|Carli Lloyd’s 25th-minute goal was not enough to help the U.S. WNT avoid their first-ever loss in Women’s World Cup qualifying, 2-1 to Mexico Friday night in Cancun.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
After Friday night’s 2-1 semifinal loss to Mexico at Estadio Quintana Roo, the USA can finish no better than third in the continental qualifying tournament. If they do take the #3 spot by defeating fellow semifinal loser Costa Rica, they can still qualify for the World Cup by winning a home-and-home playoff series against Italy November 20 and 27.
Friday’s match was over early, with all three goals scored within the first 27 minutes. Maribel Dominguez sent the pro-Mexico crowd into a frenzy in just the third minute, getting past defender Amy Le Leilbet to beat goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart with a ten-yard shot.
Carli Lloyd leveled the score for the U.S. in the 25th minute, after goalkeeper Carolina Venegas mishandled Megan Rapinoe’s corner kick and sent the ball bouncing to the penalty spot. Lloyd trapped the loose ball and sent the ball back into the lower corner of the net. However, Mexico caught the U.S. defense napping on the restart, with Veronica Perez getting free just outside the six-yard box for an open header to make the score 2-1.
Dominguez picked off Shannon Boxx’s pass and sent Barnhart diving to stop Mexico’s third and final shot on goal in the 33rd minute. Still, it was after halftime before the Americans could find any kind of attacking rhythm. Amy Rodriguez challenged Venegas with her second shot on goal in the 53rd minute, and missed wide with a header three minutes later. Rapinoe had Venegas beat in the 72nd minute, but the ball was cleared out of the goalmouth by a defender. Abby Wambach was denied on a close-in header in the 78th, and second-half substitute Alex Morgan got off a wicked left-footed shot off Rapinoe’s 85th-minute corner kick that also was stopped by the Mexican ‘keeper.
Kristine Lilly, who entered the match for defender Rachel Buehler in the 84th minute, appeared to lift the U.S. into a dramatic stoppage-time tie, but was whistled offside in the 94th minute.
The win was Mexico’s first in 26 matches against the USA (1-24-1), and the WNT’s first-ever loss in Women’s World Cup qualifying.