COUVA, Trinidad & Tobago – Abigail Kim and Ashley Sanchez scored nine minutes apart in the first half to lift the United States to the Group B title behind a 2-1 victory over Mexico at the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship Tuesday.

The result set up a semifinal clash with Group A runner-up Haiti Friday, Jan. 26 (3 p.m. ET; UDN, YouTube) for a berth to the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in France.

The Americans finished atop their group with the full nine points from three wins, while Mexico finished second with six points. Mexico came into the match needing only a tie to win the group as it led on goal difference after both teams won their first two matches.

Kim, a forward, scored on a semi-breakaway in the 30th minute off a feed by Samantha Coffey of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. and Sánchez added a goal in the 39th to give the red, white and blue a 2-0 halftime advantage.

The Americans allowed a 75th-minute Mexico goal vy Katty Martínez , which made the final 15 minutes a bit more tension-filled.

The U.S. was on the front foot for most of the match, outshooting Mexico, 16-4, and Mexico’s 75th-minute score was its only shot on goal. Led by 18-year-old Jaelin Howell, the Americans physically dominated the midfield and stayed busy inside the Mexico penalty area. The two goals were the first allowed by Mexico in the tournament.

The winners of the semifinal matches and the third-place game earn CONCACAF’s three berths to France. Group A winner Canada faces Mexico in the other semifinal. The USA has qualified for the eight previous FIFA tournaments at this age level.

Scoring Summary: 

USA – Abigail Kim (Samantha Coffey)          30th minute
USA – Ashley Sánchez (Sophia Smith)        39
MEX – Katty Martínez                                   75

USA: 12-Amanda McGlynn; 5-Isabel Rodríguez, 4-Naomi Girma, 14-Karina Rodríguez, 17-Kiara Pickett, 18-Jaelin Howell, 10-Samantha Coffey, 9-Savannah DeMelo (15-Viviana Villacorta, 46), 2-Ashley Sánchez (7-Taryn Torres, 75), 3-Sophia Smith (capt.) (20-Civana Kuhlmann, 65), 11-Abigail Kim
Subs not used: 1-Laurel Ivory; 6-Zoe Morse, 8-Brianna Pinto, 13-Tara McKeown, 16-Kelsey Turnbow, 19-Tierna Davidson
Head coach: Jitka Klimkova

MEX: 1-Emily Alvarado; 5-Jimena López (15-Samara Alcalá, 63), 13-Mia Villegas, 3-Miriam García, 2-Ashley Soto; 20-Montserrat Hernández (11-Jacqueline Ovalle, 71), 6-Andrea Hernández, 14-Natalia Villarreal (7-Dayana Cazares, 77), 17-Belén Cruz; 10-Katty Martínez, 18-Norma Palafox
Subs not used: 4-Kim Rodríguez, 8-Alexia Delgado, 9-Daniela Espinosa, 12-Miriam Aguirre, 16-Maricarmen Reyes, 19-Gabriela Juárez
Head coach: Christopher Cuellar

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 16 / 4
Shots on Goal: 4 / 1
Saves: 0 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 3
Fouls: 17 / 7
Offside: 2 / 0

Misconduct Summary:

Referee: Tatiana Guzmán (NCA)
Assistant Referee 1: Princess Brown (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephanie-Dale Yee Sing (JAM)
4th Official: Carol-Anne Chenard (CAN) Woman of the Match: Jaelin Howell