Monday, February 19, 2018

US win third straight U-20 title


The United States struck twice within an eight-minute span midway in the second half to break open a close game and record a 4-0 win over Mexico to capture the CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship for a third straight time on Sunday.

Both teams already had qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which will be hosted by Canada this summer.

The Americans completed the competition with a perfect 5-0-0 record, outscoring their foes, 29-0. The champions scored in the first half through Andi Sullivan and got second-half items from Savannah Jordan and Margaret Purce, as well as an own-goal, at Truman Bodden Stadium.

There were only a handful of scoring chances for both teams in the opening half and the US capitalised on a rare occurrence in the ninth minute. Andi Sullivan, a high school senior, delivered an in-swinging corner kick toward the upper right corner of the net that Mexican goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago tried to punch away, but could not prevent from entering her goal.

The Americans doubled their lead in the 60th minute as Jordan connected in her fifth consecutive tournament game to give her five goals, slotting home a Stephanie Amack feed from atop the penalty area into the far left corner.

Shortly after coming on as a substitute, Purce made it 3-0 as she headed a Summer Green left-wing feed from eight yards in the 68th minute.

Mexico had an opportunity to break the Americans’ shutout streak after they were awarded a penalty kick by referee Melissa Borjas (Honduras) after a foul in the box. Briana Campos fired the ensuing penalty off the left post and the US managed to thwart its rival from putting in the rebound.

The Americans added a fourth goal when a Mexican defender Nancy Antonio accidentally put a Mallory Weber cross into her own goal in the third minute of stoppage time.

En route to the final, the US defeated Costa Rica (6-0), Jamaica (3-0) and Guatemala (10-0) in the group stage, before beating Trinidad and Tobago (6-0) in the semi-finals to clinch a FIFA berth. The U.S. have won a record four CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championships. Canada are the only other team to capture the title, doing it twice.

The Mexicans beat the Cayman Islands (6-0), Honduras (10-1) and T&T (3-0) in the group matches, before topping Costa Rica in the semis (3-1).