Jamaica U17 women win Group A with Mexico draw

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – A moment of magic by Felicia Davidson gave Jamaica a 1-1 draw with Mexico in the 2013 CONCACAF Women’s Championship on Sunday, sealing a first-place Group A finish for the tournament host.

The 16-year-old, United States-based midfielder netted directly from a right-sided corner kick in the first minute of first-half stoppage time.

Despite both teams having already locked up semifinal berths, the game enjoyed all the atmosphere of a cup final.  After all, there was still plenty for which to play.  Mexico needed a win to claim the group’s top spot, while the tournament hosted only had to avoid a loss.

The Mexicans jumped out to a ninth-minute lead, when Betzy Cuevas struck a half-cross, half-shot from the right wing that floated over goalkeeper Shanay Ricketts and into the net.

Though the unexpected development may have silenced the large crowd at Catherine Hall Stadium for a short while, the game continued to be played at a passionate pace.

Briana Woodall nearly doubled the Tricolor’s lead in the 39th minute, but Ricketts was able to make a leaping save off the effort that originated from 30-yards out.

Five minutes after the break, Jamaica’s Jessica Johnson took a pass down the right wing and sprinted towards the endline.  She ripped a cross that almost found the net, forcing goalkeeper Emily Alvarado to palm the ball out for a corner.

Mexico staged a furious offensive assault in the final ten minutes in a bid to win the group title.

In the 82nd minute, Janae Gonzalez one-timed an effort from just outside the 18-yard box that Ricketts gathered in easily.

Two minutes later, Woodall hit the left post from 20-yards out.

Woodall came close again, lashing a right-footed shot from the edge of the 18-yard box that Ricketts somehow diverted with her right hand.

With stoppage time running out, Jamaica had one last chance to secure the three points.  Khadija Shaw soared to head Davidson’s right-sided corner kick towards the Mexican goal.  Alvarado, though, was positioned perfectly and only had to jump slightly to bring the ball down with two hands.

Jamaica and Mexico’s semifinal opponents will be determined after Tuesday’s top-of-the-table Group B clash between Canada and the United States.

NOTES:  After two losses against Mexico in previous CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship outings, Jamaica got its first point against the regional power…Jamaica is unbeaten in six of its last seven outings in the competition.