United States star Christie Rampone (middle) was honored by CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb (right) and U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati (left) for earning 300th cap in the CONCACAF Women's Championship semifinal against Mexico on October 24, 2014, in Chester, Pennsylvania, USA. (Photo: Mexsport)
CHESTER, Pennsylvania -- Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago will get a second chance to qualify for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC), when they meet for third place in the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship (CWC) on Sunday at PPL Park.
Both sides suffered semifinal setbacks on Friday and face a quick turnaround.
The Soca Princesses toiled through 120 minutes of regulation and extra time, before falling on penalty kicks to Costa Rica, 3-0, after a 1-1 draw. The Mexicans might be a better-rested side as coach Leonardo Cuellar left several influential players out of his Starting XI in a 3-0 loss to the United States.
Among the players who began the game on the bench were Veronica Charlyn Corral, Monica Ocampo, Veronica Perez, Teresa Noyola and Sandra Stephany Mayor.
"We have some very skillful players who were not in the game today," Cuellar said after the match. "We hope with the time they have been resting that they will be ready and definitely they can make a difference in our lineup. That's our plan."
Lauryn Hutchinson, who scored Trinidad’s lone goal against Costa Rica, felt the mental challenge to get prepared quickly was greater than the physical one.
"You're able to push your body to a certain point and you have to believe it," she said. "If you keep telling yourself, 'I can't make that extra run,' then obviously you're not going to be able to do it. We work as a team on controlling our energy. We're going to go home and take those ice bags, hydrate up and mentally be prepared because we're going to come for the fight."
Trinidad head coach Randy Waldrum agreed.
"This team won't give up, I'll tell you that,” he commented. "They are going to fight you all the way to the end and I have no doubt we'll do it again Sunday."
Waldrum was convinced his team would book a WWC spot. The match for third place’s loser will get a third opportunity to qualify, facing Ecuador in a home-and-home series in November.
"Whether it’s Sunday, whether it’s with Ecuador, this team I believe strongly is going to qualify,” the 58-year-old said. “We've got a handful of really, really talented players.
“It's just a matter of putting the pieces together and get it done.