Carolina Venegas (#9) celebrates with teammates after scoring Costa Rica's only goal in a 1-0 win over Mexico in the CONCACAF Women's Championship on October 16, 2014, in Kansas City, Kansas, USA. (Photo: Mexsport)
KANSAS CITY, Kansas -- Costa Rica scored an early goal and held off Mexico to record a 1-0 victory in the opening Group B match for both in the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship (CWC) at Sporting Park on Thursday night.
Carolina Venegas connected in the ninth minute for the Ticas (1-0-0, 3 points), who entered the match with a combined 0-0-10 record against Mexico, Canada and the United States in the tournament.
A minute after goalkeeper Dinnia Diaz made a diving save on a shot by Mexico's Veronica Charlyn Corral, Costa Rica struck. Melissa Herrera raced down the right side, forcing keeper Cecilia Santiago out of the net. The 18-year-old drilled a shot off the left post, but the ball bounded in front of the empty net and an onrushing Venegas slammed it home.
The goal emboldened the Costa Ricans as they controlled possession and sent wave after wave forward. Captain Shirley Cruz shot over the crossbar in the 11th minute. Then, Wendy Acosta just missed wide of the right post two minutes later.
Herrera came close in the 38th minute, launching a shot that Santiago knocked out of the bounds.
They Mexicans attacked from the outset of the second half. Veronica Perez had their best chances, firing an 18-yard attempt over the crossbar in the 51st minute, launching an effort that sailed wide right in the 57th minute and pressing Diaz to deflect a hard shot out of bounds on the hour.
Acosta and Cristin Granados tried to give the Ticas some breathing room, sending their efforts wide left in the 55th and 73rd minutes, respectively. Lixy Rodriguez could have put the game out of reach in the 86th minute, but her attempt ricocheted off the crossbar.
Costa Rica plays Jamaica (1-0-0, 3 points) in the first game of a doubleheader in Bridgeview, Illinois, on Saturday night, followed by a meeting Mexico (0-0-1, 0 points) meeting Martinique (0-0-1, 0 points).
NOTES: Costa Rica now has three wins and three losses in six all-time CWC openers …Mexico dropped to 3-0-5 in CWC openers and has lost three of its last four games in the competition.
To view Highlights of this game, click here.