Johnson propels Jamaica U17 women past Haiti

Jamaica's Jessica Johnson (#21) celebrates with teammates after scoring one of her two goals in a 3-0 win over Haiti in a CONCACAF Women's Under-17 Championship game on November 1, 2013, in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  (Photo: Mexsport)

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – Jamaica became the first team to earn a place in the semifinals of the 2013 CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship with a game to spare, defeating Haiti 3-0 on Friday at Catherine Hall Stadium.

The tournament host has maximum points from two Group A games, two ahead of second-place Mexico.  The two sides will meet on Sunday.

Haiti, which tied the Mexicans 1-1 on Wednesday, are in third with one point, while El Salvador has been eliminated from contention.

Jessica Johnson was outstanding in victory, especially in the second half, netting twice and coming close on other occasions.  An abundance of pace, skill and constant movement allowed her to make life difficult for the Haitian defense.

The Reggae Girlz took a 1-0 lead in the eight minute, when Johnson won possession on the left side of the field.  She delivered a cross to Asia Lee-Fatt, who took a touch, turned a defender and placed her shot past Jonie Gabriel.

The goalkeeper left the game in the 22nd minute, following a collision with a Jamaican player as both tried to gain control of a ball rolling in the box.  Naphtaline Clermeus entered as her replacement.

Three minutes after the break, Johnson embarked on a tear that sealed victory for Jamaica.

She tried to loft a shot over Clermeus, but the 15-year-old netminder pulled it down with relative ease.

In the 53rd minute, Johnson netted her first goal.  The prominent Khadija Shaw sent in a cross that the 15-year-old midfielder controlled with her thigh and then scored.

Nine minutes later, Shaw ripped an effort from 30-yards that struck a Haitian defender in the box.  Johnson was in the right place at the right time to knock it home.

Loudwige Durand nearly got Haiti on the scoreboard in the 86th minute, only to see her rocket from 18-yards out crash off the crossbar.

The Jamaicans, who are unbeaten in five of their last six games in the competition, advanced past the group stage for the first time.

Haiti faces El Salvador on Sunday needing a win and must hope that Jamaica defeats for Mexico to have any chance of progressing.