• Thursday May 10, 2012

    US qualifies easily for W U-17 World Cup

    GUATEMALA CITY - The United States accomplished what its predecessor two years ago couldn't, winning its semifinal at the CONCACAF Under-17 Women's Championship on Thursday and qualifying for the World Cup.

    Tournament scoring leader Summer Green scored three more goals to hike her total to 12 through four games, and Morgan Andrews, Toni Payne, Darian Jenkins and Emily Bruder added one each to push the Americans comfortably past Panama 7-0.

    Panama will still have a chance to claim a berth in the U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan September 22-October 13 when it faces either Mexico in the third-place match on Saturday.

    In 2010, the United States outscored its opponents 38-0 at the CONCACAF finals, but lost its semifinal against Canada on penalties after a 0-0 draw and failed to earn a spot at the World Cup in Trinidad & Tobago.

    On Thursday, Green set up Payne to give the United States the lead in the ninth minute, Green added a pair in the last two minutes of the first half, and the Americans completed the rout in the last 45 minutes.

    As it had in all of its three previous games, the Americans dominated possession and chances, hitting the crossbar four times in addition to its lopsided goal count.

    But Panama was able to blunt much of the U.S. attack for most of the first half, playing a high defensive line and filling the midfield to keep the Americans from playing the ball on the ground to the forwards.

    Miranda Freeman circumvented the tactic by playing the ball over the top to Green running down the right. Green raced alone to the byline to cross a ball back in front of the net, where Payne tapped in unmarked from inside the six.

    Unrelenting waves of attacks by the United States were frustrated by the high defensive line, which caught the Americans offside repeatedly.

    The United States then rotated its forwards, sending Green from center to the right and switching Bruder from the right to the left side. It paid immediate dividends in the 44th with Green getting the ball wide, dribbling toward the area and lofting a ball from the right edge of the box over Panamanian keeper Karen Chavarria into the far-side netting.

    Less than two minutes later, Bruder found space down the left, crossed to the middle of the area to Payne, who turned and continued the ball wide to Green, who struck a right-footed drive off the inside of the left post.

    Andrews continued the onslaught five minutes into the second half, driving a 20-meter free kick around the left side of a four-player wall and through the hands of Chavarria.

    Green scored her third in the 54th, tapping in after Jenkins sped down the right side and crossed into the goal box.

    Jenkins, who hit the bar in the first half, scored one of her own in the 66th and Bruder completed the scoring in the 77th.

    Panama finished the match with 10 players after captain Laurie Batista was carried off injured in the 81st minute, the apparent result of a trip she was called for on Elizabeth Raben two minutes earlier. Batista could be seen on the sideline on a stretcher with her left ankle in an air cast.

    The Americans have yet to allow a goal, outscoring their opponents 25-0 heading into Saturday's title match against Canada.

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