COUVA, Trinidad & Tobago – Well, here is some irony.
On the very field where the U.S. men’s national team failed to reach the 2018 World Cup, the American Under-20 women booked a spot in the 2018 Women’s U-20 World Cup.
The U.S. accomplished it with much drama in the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship semifinals at Ato Boldon Stadium.
The squad took a 1-0 advantage into stoppage time behind Jailen Howell’s 75th-minute goal before Haiti’s Nerilia Mondesir equalized at 1-1 two minutes into injury time, forcing a penalty-kick tie-breaker.
During that showdown, the Americans prevailed, 3-0 as goalkeeper Amanda McGlynn made two saves.
The U.S. will play for the CONCACAF crown against the winner of the Mexico-Canada match at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Haiti will play the loser of the match for a spot in the 2018 U-20 World Cup in France on Sunday.
The American men dropped a 2-1 decision to the Soca Warriors at the stadium Oct. 10.
There was no extratime as the game went to a shootout.
The U.S.’s first penalty kick, taken by forward Sophia Smith, was saved, but forward Taryn Torres, Howell and defender Zoe Morse converted their kicks.
The game-winning PK was perhaps extra special for Morse, who missed the deciding penalty kick in the semifinal of the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship, resulting in the USA’s elimination from the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. CONCACAF had only two berths for that U-17 World Cup, which was held in Costa Rica.
Haiti had several quality scoring chances and played with great fight in what was by far its best result and performance against the U.S.
Haiti scored its equalizer while playing a woman down after defender Emeline Charles was issued her second yellow card in the 83rd minute for clattering into substitute Brianna Pinto from behind.
In the tie-breaker, Mondesir quickly went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, hitting her team’s first penalty kick wide left. McGlynn saved the next two. McGlynn’s first save was her best as she moved to her left and palmed away Daelle Dumorany’s well-hit shot with her left hand. McGlynn also guessed correctly on her second save, taking a small step to her right to smother the shot of Roseline Eloissaint, setting the stage for Morse’s clutch winner.
The win qualified the USA for this age group’s FIFA tournament for the ninth consecutive time. The first two tournaments were staged as Under-19 events before moving to U-20s in 2006.
USA – Jaelin Howell 75th minute
HAI – Nerilia Mondesir (Melchie Daelle Dumonay) 90+2
USA – Smith (save), Torres (goal), Howell (goal), Morse (goal)
HAI – Mondesir (miss), Dumonay (save), Roseline Eloissaint (save)
USA: 12-Amanda McGlynn; 13-Tara McKeown, 19-Tierna Davidson, 6-Zoe Morse, 18-Jaelin Howell; 17-Kiara Pickett, 15-Viviana Villacorta (8-Brianna Pinto, 52), 9-Savannah DeMelo (capt.); 20-Civana Kuhlmann (7-Taryn Torres, 73), 2-Ashley Sánchez (10-Samantha Coffey, 88), 3-Sophia Smith
Subs not used: 1-Laurel Ivory; 4-Naomi Girma, 5-Isabel Rodríguez, 11-Abigail Kim, 14-Karina Rodríguez, 16-Kelsey Turnbow
Head coach: Jitka Klimkova
HAI: 1-Kerly Theus; 13-Rosianne Jean, 3-Naphtalie Northe, 4-Emeline Charles, 2-Ruthny Mathurin; 18-Melchie Daelle Dumonay, 5-Dougenie Tabita K. Joseph; 8-Nelourde Nicolas (6-Betina Petit-Frere, 68), 9-Sherly Jeudy, 11-Roseline Eloissaint; 10-Nerilia Mondesir (capt.)
Subs not used: 7-Melissa Shelsie Dacius, 12-Naphtaline Clermeus, 14-Rachelle Caremus, 15-Daniel Monique Etienne, 16-Taina Gervais, 17-Flero Dina Surpris, 19-Magdala Macean, 20-Dolores Jean Thomas
Head coach: Marc Collat
Stats Summary: USA / HAI
Shots: 12 / 13
Shots on Goal: 4 / 4
Saves: 3 / 3
Corner Kicks: 6 / 4
Fouls: 11 / 16
Offside: 8 / 0
USA – Tara McKeown (caution) 61st minute
HAI – Emeline Charles (caution) 68
HAI – Emeline Charles (caution) 83
HAI – Emeline Charles (sent off) 83
Referee: Melissa Borjas (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Shirley Perello (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Kimberly Moreira (CRC)
4th Official: Tatiana Guzman (NCA)
ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: Amanda McGlynn