The U.S. U20 Women’s National Team defeated Mexico 2-1 on Tuesday in the final game from Group B of the 2018 CONCACAF Championship. With the result, USA advances as the group winner into the semifinal round of the regional competition. USA faces Haiti in the semifinal on Friday. Three teams from CONCACAF earn spots in the World Cup so a win in either the semifinal or third-place game would send USA into the global event in France.
Abi Kim scored the opening goal on Tuesday. The speedy winger beat the left side of the Mexico defense and raced in on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat after a fantastic through ball from Samantha Coffey. Kim slotted the ball into the lower corner for the first tally of the game.
USA made it 2-0 on a goal from Ashley Sanchez toward the end of the first half. The play started with Savannah DeMelo. The center midfielder drilled a great pass with pace to Sanchez on the left wing of the U.S. attack. The power of DeMelo’s pass allowed USA to get into the attack with numbers up against a retreating Mexico defense. Sanchez cut into the center and picked out Sophia Smith on the opposite channel. Smith took a touch to the end line then hit a cross back into the center of the goal for Sanchez. The winger finished out the terrific movement from USA to gain the two-goal advantage in the first half.
USA dominated the play in the first half and dictated where the game was played for most of the opening 45 minutes. Mexico had a couple of half chances on set pieces, but nothing that really threatened Amanda McGlynn’s goal before the break. The pressure of the USA attacking trio plus the play of midfielders Jaelin Howell, DeMelo, and Coffey helped the favorites of the event take the lead in the first half and limit the chances to get caught on the break.
Mexico pulled a goal back in the second half, and made the final 20 minutes of the game more interesting. Mexico’s goal came on an error from the USA defense, which left McGlynn helpless on a shot from eight yards out.
Although Mexico pulled the goal back, the underdogs could not amount another serious threat on the net, and USA captured all three points from the game. USA was a perfect 3-0 in group play and will be looking to extend the unbeaten streak on Friday against Haiti in the semifinal round.