SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – A record-tying performance from Mia Fishel helped the United States get off to a flying start at the 2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship with a 9-0 win against Cuba at Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez on Saturday night.
Fishel scored four goals to lead the Americans.
With two berths to the 2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup at stake in the Dominican Republic, U-20 WNT head coach Laura Harvey named 10 players on the roster that have previously represented the USA at a Youth World Cup. That experience helped the USA roll past an overmatched Cuba, earning a big win to open this year’s expanded World Cup qualifying tournament.
The U.S. opened the scoring in the ninth minute as forward Alexa Spaanstra beat a Cuba defender on the left wing and found Fishel open inside the penalty area for her to easily slot home the game’s first goal. Fishel, playing in her first U-20 WNT match, tallied her second goal four minutes later after receiving a ball over the top and rounding Cuba goalkeeper Alianne Matamoro before rolling her shot into the open net.
The U.S. added a third in the 16th as Brianna Pinto, the 2019 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year, was played in on goal by forward Trinity Rodman and finished her one-on-one chance to extend the lead to 3-0.
After notching an assist on the USA’s first goal, Spaanstra got on the scoresheet in the 37th as she tapped home a cross from Rodman.
Fishel completed her hat trick in the 42nd as Spaanstra again found the forward in the box to record her second assist of the match. Late in first-half stoppage time, Fishel would add her fourth by pouncing on a deflected cross at the back post, making it 6-0 as the young Americans headed into the break.
With her four goals in the first half, Fishel tied a U-20 WNT record for goals in a single match. Previously, Kelly Wilson, Lindsay Tarpley and Heather O’Reilly put together four-goal performances as U-19s during World Cup Qualifying, while Kia McNeil (2004) netted four at the 2004 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship. Civana Kuhlmann scored four times for the U-20 WNT in a 2017 international friendly vs. Finland.
After the break, Harvey saw two of her substitutes make an impact off the bench. Summer Yates and Samantha Meza both scored, while Yates provided the assist on Meza’s goal. Pinto capped off the scoring onslaught by connecting with a Rodman cross in the 90th minute. The assist also wrapped up an excellent outing for Rodman, who set up four goals on the day.
The U.S. begins World Cup qualifying with three points as the top three teams from each group advance to the Round of 16. From there, teams will play out a knockout bracket will to the championship match. The winners of the semifinal matches will punch their tickets to the World Cup this summer in Costa Rica/Panama.
The U-20 WNT continues Group C play on Monday against host Dominican Republic (3 p.m. ET) and wraps up the group stage on Wednesday, Feb. 26 vs. Honduras (6 p.m. ET).