Mallory Pugh (#17), shown above in 2013 CONCACAF Women's Under-17 Championship action against Mexico, scored four goals for the United States under-17 women's national team during its run to the 2014 U-17 Women's NTC Invitational title. (Photo: Mexsport)
CARSON, California -- The United States under-17 women captured the 2014 U-17 Women’s NTC Invitational on Sunday after rallying to defeat Japan 2-1 at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center’s Glenn “Mooch” Myernick Field.
Taylor Racioppi had a hand in both goals, netting the equalizer on a penalty kick and setting-up Mallory Pugh’s game-winner.
The Americans were the only team out of four to complete round-robin play with a perfect 3-0-0, also posting wins against China (5-0) and New Zealand (2-0).
Moeka Minami’s nifty display of dribbling created enough space for her to loft a left-footed effort over goalkeeper Kat Hess from 12-yards out and give Japan a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute.
Racioppi converted the spot kick in the 29th minute after she was sandwiched in the penalty area as a result of some skillful dribbling.
Then, with just 10 minutes left in normal time, the 16-year-old midfielder got hold of the ball inside her own half, surged down the middle and slipped a pass for Pugh to latch onto at the top of the box. The forward’s left-footed shot from 10-yards out went off the hands of diving goalkeeper Natsumi Asano and into the net.
Pugh scored a goal in each of the USA’s three games, giving her four for the competition.
The tournament saw the U.S. register three victories against countries that qualified for next month’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.
Head coach B.J. Snow’s side did not progress, falling to Mexico on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in the 2013 CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship semifinals, despite scoring 26 goals and conceding only one in five matches.
2014 U-17 NTC WOMEN’S INVITATIONAL
United States Under-17 Women’s Summaries
February 5, 2014 at Carson, California – Glenn “Mooch” Myernick Field; U.S. Soccer National Training Center
USA 4 (Kelcie Hedge 13’, 34’; Mallory Pugh 15’, 46’)
USA: Kat Hess; Tegan McGrady, Natalie Jacobs, Zoe Morse, Ellie Jean; Taylor Racioppi (Dorian Bailey 63’), Marley Canales (Karlie Paschall 82’), Mallory Pugh (Anika Rodriguez 78’); Michelle Xiao (Maddy Schultz 63’), Madison Haley (Zoe Redei 46’), Kelcie Hedge (Leah Pruitt 78’)
February 7, 2014 at Carson, California – Glenn “Mooch” Myernick Field; U.S. Soccer National Training Center
USA 2 (Mallory Pugh 26’; Zoe Redei 70’)
New Zealand 0
USA: Lauren Rood; Mia Gyau, Alana Cook, Zoe Morse, Dorian Bailey; Marley Canales (Taryn Torres 77’), Taylor Racioppi (Tegan McGrady 61’), Mallory Pugh (Leah Pruitt 77’); Kelcie Hedge (Ashley Sanchez 61’), Madison Haley (Zoe Redei 61’), Anika Rodriguez (Michelle Xiao 61’)
February 9, 2014 at Carson, California – Glenn “Mooch” Myernick Field; U.S. Soccer National Training Center
USA 2 (Taylor Racioppi 29’ pen; Mallory Pugh 80’)
Japan 1 (Moeka Minami 5’)
USA: Kat Hess; Ellie Jean, Zoe Morse, Natalie Jacobs, Tegan McGrady; Marley Canales, Taylor Racioppi, Mallory Pugh; Kelcie Hedge (Leah Pruitt 66’), Madison Haley (Dorian Bailey 74’), Michelle Xiao (Mia Gyau 66’)