Mexico were crowned champions of the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championships, last evening at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, defeating the USA 4-2 on penalties in a pulsating final. The scores were tied 1-1 at the end of regular time and extra time. Both teams qualified for the upcoming 2018 FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup in France, along with third-placed Haiti.
Mexico scored the opening goal of the game in the 33rd minute after Dayana Cazares eluded her defender to get inside USA’s penalty area, and slotted the ball past goalkeeper Amanda McGlynn.
The Mexicans could have extended their lead but USA defender Kiara Pickett was alert to break up a golden opportunity.
The score remained 1-0 in favour of Mexico at the half but USA equalised immediately upon the resumption from a corner kick. The ball was swung into the area and Mexico goalie Emily Alvarado fell while tangled with her defenders and striker Civiana Kuhlmann nodded the ball back across the 6-yard box where substitute Tierna Davidson headed it into the net for a 50th minute equaliser. USA started to apply more pressure and Brianna Pinto stung the fingertips of Mexico’s goalkeeper in the 62nd minute with her long range effort.
Daneila Espinoza had a golden opportunity to re-establish Mexico’s lead in the 73rd but USA’s ‘keeper Amanda McGlynn, got down low to save the goal-bound shot. USA’s midfielder, Savannah Demelo, got her chance on the opposite end to steal the game but Alvarado, just like her opposite number, was able to get a strong right hand to deny the USA in the 90th and sent the game into extra-time.
During the extra-time period, Jacqueline Ovalle had her chance to put the Mexicans back into the lead in the 102nd minute of the game but she was pushed wide and her shot lashed the side net. Mexico’s substitute, Gabriela Juarez, also had a chance but her shot from inside the 6-yard box flew over the crossbar.
The game was finally decided with kicks from the penalty spot where Alvarado made two saves to deny the Americans and claim the 2018 Women’s U-20 Championships.
Mexico’s defender, Miriam Garcia, claimed the Player-of-the-Match for her defensive performance in the final. The tournament’s all star team was also announced after the match.
USA: Amanda McGlynn (GK), Sophia Smith (C), Naomi Girma, Isabel Rodriguez, Taryn Torres (Ashley Sanchez), Brianna Pinto, Savannah Demelo, Karina Rodriguez (Tierna Davidson), Civana Kuhlmann (Abigail Kim), Kiara Pickett, Jaelin Howell.
Mexico: Emily Alvarado (GK) (C), Ashley Soto, Miriam Garcia, Kim Rodriguez, Jimena Lopez, Dayana Cazares (Gabriela Juarez), Andrea Hernandez (Mia Villegas), Daniela Espinoza (Belen Cruz), Jacqueline Ovalle, Maricarmen Reyes, Katty Martinez.
CONCACAF All Star Team –
Goalkeeper: Emily Alvarado (GK) (Mexico)
Defenders: Kiara Pickett (USA), Jimenaa Lopez, Miriam Garcia, Maya Antoine (Canada)
Midfielders: Jaelin Howell, Savannah Demelo (USA), Jordyn Huitema (Canada), Melchie Daelle Dumonay (Haiti), Jacqueline Ovalle (Mexico)
Striker: Nerilia Mondesir (C)