Mexico outlasts Canada on PKs; advances to CU20W final, qualifies for World Cup

Mexico players celebrate around goalkeeper Emily Alvarado (blue jersey) after overcoming Canada on penalty kicks in the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship semifinals on January 26, 2018, in Couva, Trinidad & Tobago. (Photo: CA-Images)

COUVA, Trinidad & Tobago — Mexico secured a spot in the 2018 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship final and punched its ticket to the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, overcoming Canada on penalty kicks, 4-3, after their semifinal ended in a 1-1 draw on Friday at Ato Boldon Stadium.

To open the fifth round, Jordyn Huitema had a chance to put Canada ahead 4-3, only for Mexico goalkeeper Emily Alvarado to pull off a kick save.  On the next try, Venicia Juarez converted to settle matters.

The Mexicans took to a 1-0 lead in the 34th minute, when Jimena Lopez’s left-sided free kick from 20-yards out went under the hands of right-diving goalkeeper Rylee Foster and into the back of the net.

Canada’s goal came in the 80th minute as Emma Regan collected a short Mexico clearance in the box, finding Gabrielle Carle unmarked seven yards from the net.  The forward stuck out her left foot to jab the ball into the roof of the net.

Mexico had multiple opportunities to score in the second half, but Jacqueline Ovalle shot wide of the right post in the 56th minute, while Foster made a trio of remarkable stops in the last two minutes of normal time, including a save on Belen Cruz’s penalty kick.

On Sunday, Canada will try to claim CONCACAF’s last World Cup spot by beating Haiti in the match for third place, followed by the decider between Mexico and the United States.