• Sunday Dec 13, 2015

    CU20W: Mexico claims U-20 Women’s World Cup berth

    Kiana Palacios (pictured) celebrates after scoring the first goal in Mexico's win over host Honduras CONCACAF Under-20 Women's Championship third place match on December 13, 2015, in San Pedro Sula. (Photo: Mexsport)

    SAN PEDERO SULA, Honduras -- Mexico scored a goal in each half to earn a 2-0 win over host Honduras in the third place match at the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship on Sunday at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano. 

    The result secured the Tricolor a berth in next year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, joining Canada and the United States – which will meet in the final later in the evening -- as the confederation’s representatives. This will be Mexico’s sixth straight trip to the biennial event and seventh overall. 

    Kiana Palacios snapped Mexico’s 209-minute scoreless streak late in the first half and Jacqueline Crowther netted an insurance goal after entering the game as a substitute. 

    It was sunny and hot at kickoff, but the conditions became more comfortable as the afternoon progressed. The weather shift helped a Mexican side that endured 120 minutes of goalless football in Friday’s semifinal, before falling 5-4 on penalty kicks to Canada. 

    For the Hondurans’ part, they were well organized and looked dangerous on the counterattack, but couldn’t find the back of the net for the third consecutive game – each one of them against the trio of World Cup qualifiers. 

    After Mexico had some good possession early, it was Honduras’ Elexa Bahr who had the game’s first real scoring chance in the 12th minute. Using her superb pace, Bahr got past two defenders and then beyond goalkeeper Esthefanny Barreras, only to spin an effort wide of the left post. 

    Mexico’s first chance came six minutes later, when Palacios unleashed a powerful shot that just missed the target. 

    Although she spurned that opportunity with her feet, Palacios scored with her head five minutes from the end of the first half. Off Eva Gonzalez’s lofted cross from the left, 19-year-old forward was able to angle a looping effort from nine-yards out off the bottom of the crossbar and over the line. 

    Having come on for the injured Bianca Solis just four minutes before, Crowther got Mexico’s second headed goal of the night and her second of the competition.  In the 71st minute, Liliana Gonzalez curled in a perfect cross from the left side and all Crowther darted it perfectly in stride from eight yards and confirmed Mexico’s place in the Under-20 Women’s World Cup

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