January 19, 2014
U.S. U-20 women win fourth confederation crown
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands - The U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team defeated Mexico 4-0 in Sundayís title game of the 2014 CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship at Truman Bodden Stadium.
Right back Andi Sullivan scored directly from a corner kick in the ninth minute, but the USA struggled to create quality scoring chances in the first half against a well-organized and committed Mexico defense. The USA put the game away after halftime with tallies from Savannah Jordan and Margaret "Midge" Purce in the 59th and 68th minutes, respectively. The USA also forced Mexico into an own goal three minutes into second-half stoppage time.
This marks the USA's fourth title in this competition, which began as an U19 tournament, and third in a row. The USA and Mexico had already qualified for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup by virtue of their semifinal wins last Friday. The U-20 Women's World Cup will be staged in four Canadian cities from August 5-24.
The U.S. created a couple of corner kicks in the early going and Sullivan's service from the left side resulted in a Goal Olimpico. Her driven in-swinging cross was wind-aided, but when Mexico goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago swatted at the ball in an attempt to clear, she only partially deflected the ball as it flew inside the netting at the right post for a 1-0 lead. The goal was Sullivan's second of the tournament.
Despite attacking against the wind in the second half, the Americans continued to dominate possession while limiting Mexico to a hopeful long-ball attack. The USA notched their second goal in the 59th minute, after Stephanie Amack's one-touch pass from the midfield rolled perfectly to Jordan in the right side of the penalty area. Jordan had a step on her defender and struck a low one-touch shot across the face of the goal, past the diving Santiago and into the lower left corner.
Jordan scored one goal in each of the five tournament matches and was the team's second leading scorer behind Meehan.
Just six minutes later, Purce was the beneficiary of a lighting quick build-up down the left wing. Lavelle picked up a loose ball in midfield, sprinted into the attacking third and fed Summer Green on the left flank. Green sent in a delicate chipped cross for the crashing Purce, who struck a bullet header into the lower left corner to clinch the match and the regional championship.
Mexico had a chance to end the USA's tournament clean sheet in the final minutes, but Briana Campos' penalty kick hit the inside of the left post before the ball was swatted away by the scrambling Rowland.
Three minutes into stoppage time, the U.S. took a four-goal lead as Mallory Weber's cross from the left was deflected into Mexico's net by Estefania Fuentes.
The 2014 CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship marked the first time the USA has gone the entire event without allowing a goal. The U.S. surrendered one goal in the 2008 and 2012 CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championships.
US midfielder Rose Lavelle was the named the Golden Ball as the tournamentís most valuable player. Katelyn Rowland won the Golden Glove as the top goalkeeper, and forward McKenzie Meehan shared the top scorer award with Mexico's Tanya Samarzich, both with six goals. The USA also earned the Fair Play Award.
Costa Rica earned CONCACAF's third and final berth to the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in a match that saw the Ticas overcome a 3-1 deficit in the 70th minute to win 7-3 against Trinidad & Tobago. Costa Rica scored four goals in overtime.