CARY, North Carolina -- Riding the outstanding goalkeeping of 17-year-old Yenith Bailey and goals by Karla Riley and Lineth Cedeno, Panama qualified for the semifinals of the 2018 Concacaf Women's Championship for the first time with a 2-0 Group A triumph over Mexico at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park on Wednesday night.
Los Canaleros (2W-0D-1L, 6 points), competing in only their third CWC, stunned a Mexican side (1W-0D-2L, 3) that had participated in the last two FIFA Women's World Cups and three overall. Panama is one win away from qualifying for its first Women's World Cup.
Mexico had won the previous five meetings between the teams, outscoring Panama, 19-3.
Bailey, whose performances have belied her age, made several vital saves as she recorded her second shutout of the tournament. None was more important than her penalty-kick save on Charlyn Corral in first-half stoppage time after defender Aldrith Quintero was called for a handball in the box. Bailey, however, dove to her left to deny Corral, swatting the ball away with her left hand.
Mexico hit the woodwork three times.
Two minutes into the second half, Riley volleyed home Kenia Rangel's left-wing cross with her left foot from eight yards past goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago to the left near post.
Cedeno, a second-half substitute, added an insurance goal, firing home from 14 yards after a right-wing feed from captain Natalia Mills in the 85th minute.
Panama likely will finish second in the group to the first-place United States (2W-0D-0L, 6), which met Trinidad & Tobago (0W-0D-2L, 0) in the second game of the doubleheader due to the defending world champions' superior goal differential (plus 11 to minus zero).