GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands - Marissa McLaughlin scored five minutes after the opening kickoff, enough to give the Cayman Islands a 1-1 draw against the Dominican Republic on Saturday and the final berth in the CONCACAF Under-17 Women's Championship.
McLaughlin's goal helped earn a 3-3 aggregate draw and a 2-1 victory on away goals having drawn the first leg 2-2 a week ago in the Dominican Republic in the two-leg Caribbean third-place playoff.
Anajaira Claudio equalized in the 26th minute, her third goal of qualifying, but the Dominicans were unable to score the winner. Their hopes virtually evaporated when midfielder Angela Bocio was ejected in the 88th minute.
The Cayman Islands becomes the eighth and last team in the field for the championship, set for March 9-20 in San Jose, Costa Rica.
It will join the defending champion United States, host Costa Rica and Haiti in Group B. Group A will consist of Canada, Mexico, Jamaica and Panama.
The accomplishment marks the first time the Cayman Islands has qualified for any CONCACAF women's championship and the first time any team from the three-island nation of 49,000 has qualified for a continental competition since it's under-17 men reached the CONCACAF finals in 1992.