Costa Rica celebrates clinching a semifinal place in the CONCACAF Women's Championship by beating Jamaica 2-1 on October 18, 2014, in Bridgeview, Illinois. (Photo: Mexsport)
BRIDGEVIEW, Illinois -- After both sides traded second-half goals in quick succession, Raquel Rodriguez Cedeño scored late to give Costa Rica a 2-1 victory over Jamaica in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship (CWC) at Toyota Park on Saturday.
With the win, the Ticas (2-0-0, 6 points) booked a place in the semifinals regardless of the outcomes in the remaining Group B matches, including an encounter later in the evening between Martinique and Mexico.
Rodriguez Cedeño struck in the 86th minute, completing a sequence that was ignited by the influential Shirley Cruz. The team captain found space in the box and fed Carolina Venegas, who laid the ball off for Rodriguez Cedeño to slot into the back of the net.
Only 10 minutes earlier, Cruz gave Costa Rica its first lead by converting a penalty kick after Nicole Campbell-Green took down Rodriguez Cedeño.
The Reggae Girlz reply was swift, though not necessarily intentional. Just one minute later, Shakira Duncan had room on the right and attempted to play a cross. The 25-year-old forward, though, seemingly mishit the ball and it sailed into the side netting at the far post.
Costa Rica had multiple opportunities to take the prior to breaking through. In the 42nd minute, Wendy Acosta headed a Cruz cross off the post and saw her second effort off the rebound be blocked by the Jamaican defense.
Carol Sanchez had two headers sail high within minutes of each other, while Melissa Herrera’s 71st minute effort was tipped onto the cross bar and out of play by Jamaica goalkeeper Nicole McClure.
Early in the second half, Jamaica’s Lauren Silver nearly netted on an “Olimpico,” goalkeeper Dinnia Diaz was able to keep it from crossing the line.
Costa Rica can seal first place in Group B with a tie in its next match against Martinique (0-0-1, 0 points) on October 21 in Washington, D.C., at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium. Jamaica (1-0-1, 3 points) and Mexico (0-0-1, 0 points) will meet in a decisive encounter immediately afterwards.
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