The U.S. U-17 Women’s Youth National Team finished first in Group G at the 2022 Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship with a 5-0 win over Costa Rica at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Wednesday.
The Americans took another step toward qualifying for the 2022 U-17 Women’s World Cup.
The USA scored two goals in the first half and found the net three times in the second as five different players scored.
The U-17s will now face Curaçao in the Round of 16, which advanced directly to the knockout stage through a pre-qualifying tournament. The match will take place at Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal on Saturday, April 30 at 4 p.m. ET.
The USA opened the scoring with their fastest goal in the tournament when forward Onyeka Gamero, who made life miserable for the Las Ticas on the right wing, found forward Amalia Villarreal inside the penalty area with a low cross. She finished with authority from six yards. It was Villarreal’s tournament-leading seventh goal in three matches.
Costa Rica defended in an organized 5-4-1 formation and made it difficult for the USA to find space in the attacking third. The Americans moved the ball and weaved through the midfield well, but some better final third passes and touches were needed to increase the score line. That’s exactly what the USA got in the first minute of first-half stoppage time as Villarreal played a chipped ball behind the defense to midfielder Charlotte Kohler. After timing her run, Kohler had only the goalkeeper to beat, which she did with a right-footed shot into the lower right corner from 12 yards.
Despite an impressive performance on the night from Costa Rica goalkeeper Genesis Pérez – she made nine saves, at least five of the spectacular variety — the USA got back its scoring rhythm after Gamero was cut down inside the penalty box.
That led to midfielder and team captain Riley Jackson converting the penalty for a 3-0 advantage in the 58th minute.
Only three minutes later, Gamero took back her stolen chance as she split two defenders on the dribble down the right wing and blasted a powerful strike just under the crossbar and into the net.
In the 90th minute, midfielder Claire Hutton made an impact off the bench after coming into the match 11 minutes earlier as she finished a cross from midfielder Mia Oliaro just before the final whistle.