• Friday Nov 25, 2016

    U.S. rallies past Mexico for U-20 WWC semifinal spot

    USA's Kelcie Hedge (left) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during a FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup quarterfinal against Mexico on November 25, 2016, in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)

    PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Nov. 25, 2016) - The United States advanced to the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup semifinals, rallying to earn a 2-1 win over Mexico on Friday at Sir John Guise Stadium.

    In the all-CONCACAF quarterfinal, Maria Sanchez gave Mexico a 1-0 lead near the midway point of the second half, before substitutes Ally Watt and Kelcie Hedge replied for the Americans.

    The U.S. will next face Korea DPR – a 3-2 winner over Spain -- in a final-four encounter on November 29.

    Mexico went ahead 1-0 in the 66th minute, when Maria Sanchez powered a left-footed free kick from just outside the box off the hands of goalkeeper Casey Murphy and into the back of the net.

    Murphy then misplayed a long ball played into the penalty area, but Jacqueline Crowther’s right-footed effort off the bounce from seven-yards out floated harmlessly over the crossbar.

    With that danger averted, the U.S. went to work on the offensive end led by the outstanding Ashley Sanchez – the youngest player on the squad at just 17-years-old.

    In the 81st minute, Sanchez rolled a splendid pass into the left side of the box for an on-rushing Watt.  . As goalkeeper Esthefanny Barreras came out to challenge, Watt shot with her left foot from nine yards, beating the sliding Barreras and depositing the ball inside the near post.

    The dynamic Sanchez set-up the game-winner in the third minute of stoppage time.  After racing brilliantly into the right side of the box and eluding challenges, she pulled the ball back from the end line towards the penalty spot.  Mallory Pugh smartly let the ball go through her legs to the waiting Hedge, whose right-footed attempt took a deflection off defender Monica Flores and spun past the helpless Barreras.

    The win marked the sixth time in eight U-20 Women’s World Cups that the U.S. has advanced to the semifinals.

    NOTES:

    - The goals were Ally Watt’s second of the competition.  She also scored against New Zealand as a substitute

    - Kelcie Hedge saw her first action of the World Cup when she replaced Jessie Scarpa in the 68th minute

    - This was the first meeting between the USA and Mexico in a FIFA Women's World Cup at any level

    - Mexico outshot the U.S., 15-4.

    FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup -- Quarterfinals

    November 25, 2016: Sir John Guise Stadium – Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea  (Att: 4,245)

    USA-Mexico 2-1 (0-0)

    Ally Watt 81’; Kelcie Hedge 90’+3 / Maria Sanchez 66’

    USA: Casey Murphy; Madeline Elliston, Taylor Otto, Kaleigh Riehl, Ellie Jean, Emily Fox, Emily Ogle, Sabrina Flores (Ally Watt 73’), Mallory Pugh, Ashley Sanchez, Jessie Scarpa (Kelcie Hedge 68’). Head Coach: Michelle French

    Mexico: Esthefanny Barreras; Vanessa Flores, Rebeca Bernal, Monica Flores, Nancy Antonio, Kiana Palacios, Eva Gonzalez, Maria Sanchez, Paulina Solis (Liliana Rodriguez 59’), Jacqueline Crowther, Belen Cruz. Head Coach: Roberto Medina.

    R: Riem Hussein (Germany); AR1: Belinda Brem (Germany); AR2: Angela Kyriakou (Cyprus); 4th: Finau Vulivuli (Fiji)

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