Wednesday 19 September, 2018

Mexico earns CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship

Mexico players celebrate after scoring against the USA in the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship final (Image: CONCACAF)

Mexico players celebrate after scoring against the USA in the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship final (Image: CONCACAF)

Mexico captured its first-ever CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship title, prevailing over the United States, 4-2 on penalty kicks after their final ended in a 1-1 draw on Sunday at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

Goalkeeper Emily Alvarado made two saves in the shootout, denying Brianna Pinto and Kiara Pickett on the Americans’ first and third attempts. Katty Martinez, Jimena Lopez, Mia Villegas and Belen Cruz converted successfully for the Tricolor.

The USA entered the match as the four-time defending champion, even beating the Mexicans in the group stage, 2-1, on January 23.

Mexico took a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute. After Kimberly Rodriguez sent a left-sided free kick from inside her own end towards the U.S. box, Katty Martinez beat Naomi Gira to the ball and headed towards the right. It fell to Dayana Cazares, who turned to elude defender Isabel Rodriguez, before drilling a right-footed shot into the back of the net from 10-yards out.

A defensive miscue led to the USA’s equalizer in the 49th minute. Off short corner kick from the right, the ball was delivered towards the far post. Alvarado appeared to misjudge its flight, as the smartly positioned Civana Kuhlmann did well – from the left-goal line -- to head in front of the net. Tierna Davidson was there for an easy four-yard header of her own.

In second-half stoppage time, Alvarado was on top of her game to preserve the 1-1 deadlock, getting hands-on Sophia Smith’s point-blank attempt.

U.S. goalkeeper Amanda McGlynn also made a key stop in the 73rd minute by going full stretch to her right in order to deny Daniela Espinosa’s low drive from the right side of the box.

Mexico, the U.S., and Haiti will represent CONCACAF in the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, August 5-24 in France.