MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – A second-half goal by Vanessa Flores gave Mexico a 1-1 draw with Haiti to kick off the 2013 CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship on Wednesday at Catherine Hall Stadium.
The defender headed in substitute Cinthia Huerta’s left-sided corner kick in the 64th minute to level the Group A encounter.
While it was the first time that Mexico did not win its opener in three previous editions of the tournament, the game marked Haiti’s first-ever goal and point in four all-time games.
Batcheba Louis gave the Caribbean runner-up a 43rd minute lead with an impressively taken shot. Soveline Beaubrun delivered a long ball down the left that the 16-year-old was able to turn on in the box and cleverly loop over goalkeeper Emily Alvarado.
The Tricolor had a chance to equalize deep into first-half stoppage time, when Jaqueline Garcia was taken down in the box by Beaubrun. Eva Gonzalez, however, pulled her kick from the spot wide of the left post.
The Mexicans enjoyed a majority of the early possession, but Haiti absorbed the pressure and started to create oportunities of its own.
In the 32nd minute, Isnada Lebrun charged in on goal after receiving a throw-in on the right wing. Before she had a chance to shoot, Vanessa Flores swooped in to avert the danger.
Seconds later, Louis – who scored a remarkable 11 goals in a Caribbean qualifying match last month -- attempted Haiti’s first shot of the game, only to see it sail over the crossbar from eight-yards out.
Sensing a shift in momentum, the Mexicans reacted with urgency. After generating a flurry of activity in front of Haiti’s net, they earned a 35th minute corner kick that Flores headed high.
Both sides return to action on Thursday, looking for their first wins. Mexico takes on El Salvador in the first game of a doubleheader, immediately followed by Haiti’s meeting with host Jamaica.