ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – Everything happened in twos for Mexico on Friday in its 2016 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship opener against Costa Rica.
The Tricolor took a 2-0 lead, before conceding two straight goals. Then, Daniela Espinosa scored two goals, including one with two minutes remaining in normal time, to give the defending champion a 4-2 win.
"It was a hard-fought game with a bit of everything,” said Mexico head coach Christopher Cuellar. “We went ahead on the scoreboard; they tied us. In the end, a pair of goals gave us the three points."
Thanks to Espinosa’s double, a champion opened defense of its crown for the fifth straight time in as many attempts.
"It is important to start the tournament with a win, as the group is made up of big teams,” Cuellar remarked. “Therefore, the result is important."
The 36-year-old manager was pleased with his team’s response after Gloriana Villalobos netted twice to equalize for Costa Rica.
"After they tied it up, the players continued to create opportunities and not let down their guard,” he commented. “The team continued looking for spaces and opened the field. As each did this, we achieved the bottom line. That was key.”
Next up for Mexico is the USA. The rivalry has been made even more fierce thanks to their semifinal meeting in 2013, when the Mexicans prevailed 4-2 on penalty kicks, following a 1-1 draw.
"For the upcoming game against the United States, we must not lose the order,” Cuellar finished. “We already have the information from the American-Jamaican game and we did our homework on the North Americans.”