May 7, 2012
THREE AGAINST EL-TRI
Green hat trick leads U.S. U-17s to 3-0 win
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala ---Forward Summer Green scored all three goals in the first half, to put an early end to any potential drama as the U.S. Women’s U-17 National Team defeated Mexico 3-0 to win Group B at the 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship.
The victory earned the USA a semifinal matchup with Group A runner-up Panama for a berth to the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup.
With the three goals, Green matched the U.S. record for a U-17 World Cup Qualifying stage after just three matches. Forward Lindsey Horan scored nine times in five matches at the 2010 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship in Costa Rica.
"The mentality was excellent," said U.S. head coach Albertin Montoya. "This is a game we were prepared for and we were looking forward to playing, but Mexico is an excellent team and they showed why they are such a strong opponent. They made it very difficult for us, but fortunately for the U.S. right now we have a forward that is very dangerous and on a hot streak in Summer Green. She put three away in the first half and that made the difference in the game. In the second half, we were able to slow the game down and hopefully save our legs a little bit."
The U.S. and Mexico entered Monday's Group B finale with both teams winning their first two matches by shutouts, but the USA burst Mexico's defense with three goals in the first 36 minutes.
The first came on a penalty kick - the USA's first of the tournament - after Margaret Purce dribbled into the right side of the penalty box in the 16th minute and tried to split the Mexican defenders Paulina Solis and Celinna Montano. Solis was called for the bump that sent Purce sprawling to the artificial surface and Green stepped up to drill home the kick in the 17th minute, placing her shot past diving Mexico goalkeeper Gabriela Paz into the lower right corner.
Green struck again in the 32nd minute when defender Gabbi Miranda ran under a long ball and flicked it onto Green with her head. Green latched on to the ball and attacked down the left side, blowing past her defender towards the near post before slotting her right-footed shot just inside of the right post for a 2-0 lead.
Green completed her hat trick in the 36th minute when she ran past three Mexican defenders straight up the middle and shot hard from about 23 yards out, skipping the low shot just inside the left post. Midfielder Sarah Robinson initiated the attack, stepping in to win a ball in midfield that started the counter before playing a perfect pass to the streaking Green.
The USA nearly created a fourth goal in the 83rd minute with back-to-back chances. Substitute Toni Payne provided the buildup with a cross from the left wing that found Green in the right side of the penalty area. She struck a hard shot back across the goal but Mexico's Montano cleared it from the line. Substitute Joanna Boyles had a follow-up shot from distance but could not put the shot on frame.
Mexico did mount a few attacks in the match, but the U.S. back line was stellar and goalkeeper Jane Campbell did not have to make a difficult save, being tested only one on a set play when she came far out of her goal to punch a service away.
The USA takes on Panama on Thursday, May 10, at 3:30 p.m. ET while Canada will meet Mexico in the other semifinal at 6:30 p.m. ET. The winners of the semifinals and the winner of the third-place match earn CONCACAF's three berths to the third FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, which will be staged in Azerbaijan from Sept. 22-Oct. 13.