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October 31, 2013
Roll over T&T at CONCACAF Championships

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica - Mallory Pugh led the way with two goals as the U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team opened play at the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship with an 8-0 rout against Trinidad & Tobago at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

Pugh opened the scoring in the 32nd minute that finally broke the T&T bunker, and a blistering strike in the 81st minute that put a stamp on the match. Anika Rodriguez and Marley Canales also tallied first-half goals. Forward Madison Haley, who also had three assists including on both of Pugh's goal, 14-year-old Civana Kuhlmann and defenders Zoe Morse and Natalie Jacobs found the net in the second half.

"I was really, really proud of our energy," U-17 WNT head coach B.J. Snow said. "I thought the spirit of the team was excellent going into the game and sometimes the spirit can get the best of you when you start a qualifying tournament especially, when there are 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds involved. I was pleased to see them push through, build the game and continue to be patient, and when we got that first goal there was a big sigh of relief and then we could just play.

"The involvement of our team over 90 minutes was excellent," he said. "We were able to find spaces to penetrate, whether it was the width or inside to find those pockets. Overall, I was very pleased."

In the other Group B match, Canada defeated Guatemala 8-0, so both the USA and its northern neighbor sit atop the group with three points and tied on goal differential.

The top two finishers in each group will qualify for the semifinals. The teams will cross over with the first-place team in Group A playing second in Group B and vice-versa, with the semifinal winners earning CONCACAF's two berths to the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup being held next March in Costa Rica.

Guatemala is up next for the USA on Saturday, Nov. 2, in a match that can be seen live on FOX Soccer Plus and online at FOX Soccer 2GO at 7 p.m. ET. Fans can also follow on's MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

The USA dominated the match in the mid-80-degree heat with heavy possession while Trinidad often kept nine field players deep inside its own half. For more than 30 minutes, the U.S. found plenty of room down the flanks with some excellent ball movement, but either could not connect with a runner or shot right at T&T goalkeeper Nicolette Craig.

Pugh's fancy bit of dribbling opened the flood gates for the young Americans as she ran onto a pass from Haley inside the penalty area, swiveled around Craig and slotted the ball home for a 1-0 lead.

Six minutes later, Rodriguez finished well as she laced home a rebound off of a Pugh shot that had struck the right post and rolled toward the top of the penalty area. Just three minutes before the break, Canales sent the USA into half with a 3-0 lead, as Haley poked the ball back at the top of the penalty area on the left side and she struck a left-footed shot that deflected off of a Trinidad defender and found the left corner of the net.

After setting up her teammates in the first half, Haley became the beneficiary to start the second with her first goal of the tournament. In the 52nd minute, Rodriguez powerfully dribbled into the left side of the box, gliding past a pair of Trinidad defenders before a rolling square pass to Haley, who took one quick touch and drilled the ball past Craig inside the left post for a 4-0 lead. Haley now has five international goals in six U-17 WNT matches.

Snow sent on the 14-year-old Kuhlmann on the 73rd minute and it took her less than eight minutes to find the net, stuffing her shot into the left corner after some nice work on the left flank from 61st minute substitute Maddy Schultz. It was Kuhlmann's first international match at the U-17 level and of course her first goal. She is the youngest player ever to score for the U.S. U-17 Women's National Team program in international competition.

Pugh made it 6-0 in the 81st minute with her blast from just inside the penalty area and then the Americans finished the scoring with two headers from its center-backs, both off Tegan McGrady corner kicks from the right side. The first came just a minute after Pugh's second goal as Morse powered home her header and then Jacobs capped the scoring in the 89th minute.

With both the USA and Canada scoring eight times, goal difference in the second round of Group B games will take on added importance as Canada faces T&T and the USA takes on Guatemala.

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