It was an inauspicious start to CONCACAF qualifying for the U.S. U20 women’s national team on Friday night in Honduras.
After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first half against Mexico, the U.S. conceded twice, drawing with their rivals in the first game of qualification for next year’s Under 20 World Cup.
Despite the final score, the U.S. enjoyed a strong first 25 minutes of the game, dominating the run of play for long stretches and looking comfortable in possession. Marley Canales won a penalty kick in the 20th minute when her cross struck the hand of a Mexican defender, and Mallory Pugh stepped up to convert from the spot.
Two minutes later, the U20s doubled the lead when Pugh’s cutback found defender Emily Fox in the box, and the Virginia native lashed home the second goal in the 22nd minute.
Mexico cut into the deficit soon after, when Blanca Solis found space in the box on a set piece. A curled ball found Solis in the penalty area, and she had time to pick her head up and find the far corner.
UC Irvine forward Kiana Palacios then stepped up to tie the game for Mexico in the 66th minute, her glancing header beating Chandler to the near post.
Substitute Ella Stevens nearly won the game in stoppage time, when a Pugh cut back found her at the far post. But Mexico goalkeeper Emily Alvarado was there to make the save, securing the point.
U.S. lineup: Rose Chandler; Sabrina Flores, Natalie Jacobs, Tierna Davidson, Emily Fox; Mikaela Harvey (Jordan Harr - 45'), Savannah DeMelo, Parker Roberts, Marley Canales (Ella Stevens - 73'); Ashley Sanchez (Jessie Scarpa - 45’), Mallory Pugh