USA’s Jaelin Howell, Sophia Smith (L-R)

The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team captured first place in Group B at the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship in Couva, Trinidad & Tobago with a 2-1 win over Mexico.  The U.S. will meet Haiti, which finished second in Group A, in a semifinal match with a berth in the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup on the line.

The two semifinal winners and the third-place finisher will receive the region’s three automatic berths in the World Cup, which will be hosted by France.  The USA will play Haiti on Friday, Jan. 26 (3 p.m. ET).

With the win, the USA finished atop its group with the full nine points from three wins, while Mexico finished second with six points. Mexico came into the match needing just a tie to win the group as it led on goal difference after both teams won their first two matches, but two goals from the USA in the first half proved to be the difference.

The U.S. opened the tournament with a 2-0 win over Nicaragua, followed by a 2-1 win over Jamaica.  Six different players scored the six U.S. Goals in group play.

Taryn Torres and Civana Kuhlman scored the two goals in the opening shutout, while team captain Sophie Smith and Jaelin Howell had the goals against Jamaica.  Both Colorado natives, Smith and Howell are teammates at the club and high school levels.  Smith has committed to Stanford, while Howell is headed to Florida State.

Forward Abigail Kim scored on a semi-breakaway in the 30th minute to open the scoring against Mexico, and Ashley Sánchez added a goal in the 39th to give the USA a 2-0 halftime lead that held up despite a late Mexico goal which made the final 15 minutes a bit more tension-filled.

The USA was on the front foot for most of the match, out-shooting Mexico 16-4 and Mexico’s 75th-minute score was its only shot on goal. Led by 18-year-old Howell, the USA physically dominated the midfield and stayed busy inside the Mexico penalty area for the entire 90 minutes. The two goals were the first allowed by Mexico in the tournament.

Group A winner Canada faces Mexico in the other semifinal. The USA has qualified for the eight previous FIFA tournaments at this age level.

2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship
Final Group B Standings
Team GP W L D Pts. GF GA GD
USA 3 3 0 0 9 6 2 +4
Mexico 3 2 1 0 6 7 2 +6
Nicaragua 2 0 2 0 0 0 4 -4
Jamaica 2 0 2 0 0 1 6 -5

Goal Scoring Rundown: 

USA – Abigail Kim (Samantha Coffey), 30th minute: After a sustained period of pressure in which the USA came close on several occasions, including several chances that fell to Kim, the Americans broke Mexico down after a long goal kick. The ball fell to Coffey who took a few touches forward and slipped a pass behind the defense to Kim, who slotted her shot into the lower left corner from 13 yards out. USA 1, MEX 0 [WATCH]

USA – Ashley Sanchez (Sophia Smith), 39th minute: The USA attacked with speed and sophistication once again as Sanchez penetrating the attacking third and played a long pass behind the defense to the wide-open Smith on the right wing. Smith settled the ball just inside the edge of the penalty box and had time to look up and pick out the crashing Sanchez, who timed her run perfectly. The U.S. forward then chopped home a first-time shot from six yards out straight-away for her first goal of the tournament. USA 2, MEX 0 [WATCH]

MEX – Katty Martinez, 75th minute: Mexico pulled a goal back with 15 minutes left after U.S. defender Karina Rodriguez got a foot on a through ball, but then stumbled and fell inside the penalty box in the process, giving Martinez a chance at shoot uncontested. She roofed her chance from eight yards out over U.S. goalkeeper Amanda McGlynn to give her team brief hope. USA 2, MEX 1 [WATCH] FINAL

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:

MEX – Mia Villegas, 90+1st minute: The USA pushed for a third goal as Civana Kuhlmann powered her way past a defender on the left side and crossed to the far post for Abigail Kim. Her header wasn’t going on goal but the ball was in a highly dangerous area when Mia Villegas slid to clear it out of danger.

Additional Notes:

  • The USA’s six goals in the tournament have come from six different players.
  • The USA will play in the semifinal of this tournament for the ninth consecutive time.
  • Ashley Sánchez’ goal was her seventh in 23 U-20 caps.
  • Abigail Kim’s goal was her fourth in 14 U-20 caps.
  • S. head coach Jitka Klimkova made all three allowed substitutes, sending on midfielder Viviana Villacorta at halftime for Savannah DeMelo, forward Civana Kuhlmann for Sophia Smith in the 65th minute and forward Taryn Torres for Sanchez in the 75th minute.
  • The USA has now played Mexico in eight out of the nine CONCACAF U-20 qualifying tournaments, including the last eight in a row, and played them twice in the 2010 tournament.
  • The USA won the first seven games vs. Mexico and then tied 2-2 to open play at the 2016 tournament before today’s victory.
  • Three of the meetings have been in the semifinal, two in the championship game and four in group play.
  • Mexico has qualified for seven consecutive World Cups at the U-20 age level, but has never won the CONCACAF title.

– U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: January 23, 2018
Competition: CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship – Group B
Venue: Ato Boldon Stadium; Couva, Trinidad
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
Attendance: 112
Weather: 83 degrees, mostly sunny

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F
USA                            2          0          2
MEX                            0          1          1

USA – Abigail Kim (Samantha Coffey)          30th minute
USA – Ashley Sánchez (Sophia Smith)        39
MEX – Katty Martínez                                   75

Lineups:
USA: 12-Amanda McGlynn; 5-Isabel Rodríguez, 4-Naomi Girma, 14-Karina Rodríguez, 17-Kiara Pickett, 18-Jaelin Howell, 10-Samantha Coffey, 9-Savannah DeMelo (15-Viviana Villacorta, 46), 2-Ashley Sánchez (7-Taryn Torres, 75), 3-Sophia Smith (capt.) (20-Civana Kuhlmann, 65), 11-Abigail Kim
Subs not used: 1-Laurel Ivory; 6-Zoe Morse, 8-Brianna Pinto, 13-Tara McKeown, 16-Kelsey Turnbow, 19-Tierna Davidson
Head coach: Jitka Klimkova

MEX: 1-Emily Alvarado; 5-Jimena López (15-Samara Alcalá, 63), 13-Mia Villegas, 3-Miriam García, 2-Ashley Soto; 20-Montserrat Hernández (11-Jacqueline Ovalle, 71), 6-Andrea Hernández, 14-Natalia Villarreal (7-Dayana Cazares, 77), 17-Belén Cruz; 10-Katty Martínez, 18-Norma Palafox
Subs not used: 4-Kim Rodríguez, 8-Alexia Delgado, 9-Daniela Espinosa, 12-Miriam Aguirre, 16-Maricarmen Reyes, 19-Gabriela Juárez
Head coach: Christopher Cuellar

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 16 / 4
Shots on Goal: 4 / 1
Saves: 0 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 3
Fouls: 17 / 7
Offside: 2 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials: 
Referee: Tatiana Guzmán (NCA)
Assistant Referee 1: Princess Brown (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephanie-Dale Yee Sing (JAM)
4th Official: Carol-Anne Chenard (CAN)

ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: Jaelin Howell

Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *