CARY, North Carolina -- Panama opening the 2018 concacaf Women’s Championship with a stunning 3-0 Group A victory over Trinidad & Tobago on Thursday night.
Los Canaleros, playing in only their third CWC and first since 2006, earned their second win in the competition as they bested the Soccer Princesses, the 2014 fourth-place finishers.
Panama's 17-year-old goalkeeper Yenith Bailey recorded the clean sheet at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Park.
Marta Cox, who did not score during qualifying, lifted the Panamanians into a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute. A questionable Trinidad backpass deflected off the forward to captain Natalia Mills on the right side of the penalty area. Mills then slipped a pass to Cox, who finished from eight yards past goalkeeper Kimika Forbes.
An unmarked Kenia Rangel, who had a hat-trick in a qualifying win over El Salvador, doubled the lead in the 68th minute, scoring from seven yards for a 2-0 advantage.
Only minutes after entering the match, Erika Hernandez found herself unmarked in the area to score the final goal from six yards in the 88th minute.
Bailey’s most important save came in the 45th minute when she came out of the net to deny an onrushing Kennya Cordner at the top of the box.
On Sunday, the Central Americans play the United States here while T&T takes on Mexico.
The U.S., the defending FIFA World Cup champions, met the Mexicans in the second game of the doubleheader
CARY, North Carolina -- Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan scored two goals apiece as the United States broke open a close game in the second half to register a 6-0 Group A victory over Mexico in the opening match for both sides in the 2018 concacaf Women's Championship on Thursday night.
The USA took the group lead over Panama, 3-0 winners over Trinidad & Tobago in the opening game of the doubleheader, due to goal differential.
Julie Ertz and Tobin Heath also found the back of the net for the defending FIFA Women's World Cup champions at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Deploying a high pressure, fast-paced attack, the Americans dominated from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.
Three minutes into game, Rapinoe lifted the USA into a 1-0 lead as she slipped in Lindsey Horan's left-flank feed as Mexico goalkeeper Bianca Henninger ventured off her line while going after the ball..
The USA wore down the Mexicans in the second half.
After a long free kick crashed off the crossbar, Ertz powered the rebound into the lower left corner for a 2-0 advantage in the 47th minute. Morgan headed in Rapinoe's corner kick from five yards for a three-goal margin in the 57th minute.
Heath scored her 22nd international goal in the 61st minute. Overlapping left back Crystal Dunn dribbled around two defenders and sent a left-wing cross to Heath, who headed it home from 10 yards and a 4-0 lead. Rapinoe's second goal was a tap-in after second-half substitute Carli Lloyd won a ball in the penalty area in the 70th minute.
Morgan struck for her second and 92nd international goal in the 80th minute, slotting home Becky Sauerbrunn's left-wing feed.
Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who recorded the shutout, was never severely tested.
On Sunday, the Americans meet Panama while Mexico takes on Trinidad here.