The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team scored three times in the first half to put an early end to any potential drama and 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.
U.S. forward Summer Green scored all three goals to up her tournament total to nine, matching 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.
Green will have two more games to eclipse Horan’s mark starting with the semifinal as 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.
“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 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.
A heavy rain fell on the match for the second part of the first half, making the turf slick for the rest of the game. The U.S. spent the second half focusing on possession, with an occasional offensive flurry, but also limited Mexico to just four total shots.
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 defense did a fantastic job with Mexico’s long services, which came fast and furious in the first half, as center-backs Mandy Freeman and Maddie Bauer, and outside backs Brittany Basinger and Gabbi Miranda won almost every ball in the air. The USA also maintained a good balance on both ends of the pitch, tracking back well when Mexico tried to counter attack and always keeping strong numbers behind the ball.
After sitting out in the USA’s second group game against Trinidad & Tobago, U.S. midfielder Lauren Kaskie and Purce were given starts while forward Amber Munerlyn got her first start and minutes of the tournament up top with Purce and Green. All had impactful matches with Kaskie and Munerlyn eventually giving way to Boyles and Morgan Stanton, respectively. Payne came on for Robinson in the 68th minute, giving the crafty U.S. midfielder her first break of the tournament.
– U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team Match Report –
Match: United States U-17 Women’s National Team vs. Mexico U-17 WNT
Date: May 7, 2012
Competition: 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship – Group B
Venue: Estadio Cementos Progreso; Guatemala City, Guatemala
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. MT (6:30 p.m. ET)
Weather: 70 degrees, rain, windy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 0 3
MEX 0 0 0
USA – Summer Green (penalty kick) 17th minute
USA – Summer Green (Gabbi Miranda) 31
USA – Summer Green (Sarah Robinson) 36
USA: 1-Jane Campbell; 3-Brittany Basinger, 5-Maddie Bauer, 16-Mandy Freeman, 6-Gabbi Miranda; 10-Morgan Andrews (capt.), 17-Sarah Robinson (19-Toni Payne, 68), 14-Lauren Kaskie (12-Joanna Boyles, 56); 4-Amber Munerlyn (11-Morgan Stanton, 83), 8-Summer Green, 15-Margaret Purce
Subs not used: 2-Lizzy Raben, 7-Andi Sullivan, 9-Emily Bruder, 18-Cassie Miller
Not Available: 13-Darian Jenkins, 20-Morgan Reid
Head Coach: Albertin Montoya
MEX: 1-Gabriela Paz, 2-Jaquelina Rodriguez, 3-Jessica Valadez, 5-Paulina Solis, 7-Taylor Alvarado, 8-Karla Nieto, 9-Luz Duarte (19-Jessica Morales, 78), 10-Jenny Chiu (capt.) (6-Michelle Gonzalez, 56), 11-Hallie Hernandez (15-Natalie Rivas, 81), 14-Celinna Montano, 20-Cynthia Pineda
Subs not used: 4-Greta Espinoza, 12-Adela Meza, 16-Mariana Cadena, 17-Vivian Vega
Not Available: 13-Fernanda Perez, 18-Cassandra Reyes
Head Coach: Leonardo Cuellar
Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots:21 / 4
Shots on Goal:9 / 3
Saves: 3 / 5
Corner Kicks: 1 / 1
Fouls: 10 / 13
Offside: 2 / 1
Referee: Michelle Pye (CAN)
Assistant Referee: Suzanne Morriset (CAN)
Assistant Referee: Marisol Salazar (GUA)
Fourth Official: Alicia Villatoro (GUA)
ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: Summer Green