Canada goalkeeper Rylee Foster (green jersey) in CONCACAF Under-20 Women's Championship action against Jamaica on December 6, 2015, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras -- As they moved in the direction of an Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano goal, Mexico’s Emily Alvarado and Rylee Foster of Canada gave each other a friendly greeting as familiar foes for yet another penalty shootout.
The same goalkeepers went head-to-head back in 2013 at the CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship final in Jamaica and, on that occasion, Alvarado had the upper hand as the Mexicans prevailed 4-2, following a 0-0 draw.
But a measure of sporting revenge was gained on Friday as the Canadians earned a place in Sunday’s final, 5-4 on penalties after another scoreless deadlock, with Foster making the only save from the 10 combined attempts.
“I said ‘we meet again in the same situation,’” the 17-year-old Foster remarked with a laugh. “We go far back. We’ve played each other in multiple tournaments, so we have a great relationship now.”
Foster admitted that the 2013 CONCACAF competition – in which she captured Golden Glove honors -- weighed heavily on her mind prior to the semifinal. She was hoping her team could net a winner in normal time or extra time, but is proud of a defense that has performed flawlessly.
Canada is the only side in the competition not to concede a goal, blanking the opposition for a total of 390 minutes.
“My back line got me through it, they always do” said Foster. “I’ve never experienced such a tight-knit back line. We have a great relationship and without them, we wouldn’t be goal-less.”
Next up for Canada, though, is a meeting with the three-time defending champion United States in the decider. The Americans have scored a tournament-best 21 goals, including seven in a shutout of Honduras in the other semifinal.
“Coming into this tournament, it was a personal goal. I didn’t want to have any goals against,” Foster finished. “I wanted to set that statement I made last tournament in Jamaica at the CONCACAF U-17s.”
With Canada’s spot in the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup already secured, breaking the USA stranglehold on the trophy would be the sweetest proclamation of all.