Mexico beat U.S. U20 to Concacaf Crown

Mexico beat U.S. U20 to Concacaf Crown
by Victor Olorunfemi
June 5, 2023

Saying that Mexico shocked the U.S. to win the U20 Women’s Concacaf crown would be unfair, as they played well enough to win the tournament. It took an 88th-minute goal, but for the first time since 2018, the U.S. U20 Women’s fell short of the Concacaf crown. 

The game started as most rivalry games do, a toughly contested battle with both sides struggling to create clear offensive looks. Onyeka Gamero continued in her outstanding tournament as the game’s most dangerous player, but the first half ended in a 0-0 tie with no inclination of who would pull out a victory. 

The first momentous event in the game came in the 51st minute, with Ally Sentnor earning a penalty kick, her fourth of the tournament. But Mexico goalkeeper, Itzel Velasco, stepped up to save Tessa Dellarose’s attempt, flipping the momentum in Mexico’s favor. It felt like one of those moments that could spur a team on in a final with confidence in their goalkeeper to give them a chance. 

That proved to be the case as Mexico pushed on to score in the 71st minute from a Mailin Orozco goal as she did well to break through and poke past the goalkeeper. It was the best chance either team had created from open play all game, and Mexico took advantage. However, the celebrations were short-lived as Gamero took a Sentnor through ball at speed from the left wing and blasted her attempt into the roof of the net to equalize the game in the 80th minute. It was a deserved goal for a player that had been the best on either team. 

With both teams looking for one last opportunity to win the championship, Mexico’s came with a bit of good fortune. An Alice Soto touch heading for a goal kick took an unfortunate deflection off a U.S. defender, ricocheting into the perfect cross for Fatima Servin to finish just outside the six-yard box. Servin did well to be more proactive than the American defenders, and it paid off with a monumental game-winning goal. 

One last opportunity came in the 95th minute, but Velasco showed incredible reflexes to save a Jordynn Dudley shot and react in time to keep the rebound from the on-rushing Sentnor. As the final whistle blew, the Mexican team erupted into well-deserved celebrations as the U.S. failed to win the Concacaf tournament for the first time in three attempts dating back to 2018, where they also lost to Mexico in penalty kicks.  

Both teams and third-place winners Canada will represent Concacaf at the 2024 U20 FIFA Women’s World Cup. 

Teagan Wy; Savannah King, Ella Emri, Elise Evans (Leah Klenke), Tessa Dellarose; Shae Harvey (Katherine Rader), Jasmine Aikey, Lauren Martinho (Ally Lemos); Onyeka Gamero, Ally Sentnor, Madeline Dahlien (Jordynn Dudley)

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