The U.S. Under-17 women’s youth national team won the 2022 Concacaf U-17 Women’s Championship in thrilling fashion after defeating Mexico, 2-1, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Sunday.
A first-half goal from midfielder Lauren Martinho and a game-winner from second-half substitute forward Melina Rebimbas lifted the USA to victory as the young Americans won a third consecutive Concacaf Women’s U-17 title and record fifth overall.
The Americans concluded the tournament with a 7-0-0 record while outscoring their foes, 58-1. 58 goals and conceding just one. The USA tied Mexico for most goals scored in the competition.
Both teams had qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup by winning their respective semifinal contests.
Team captain and midfielder Riley Jackson was named the best player of the tournament. U.S. goalkeeper Victoria Safradin, who played four matches, took home best goalkeeper honors. Mexico won the Fair Play Award. Canada forward Rosa Maalouf was the top goal-scorer.
USA head coach Natalia Astrain will shift focus to preparations for October’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India. Earlier on Sunday, Canada defeated Puerto Rico, 3-0, on three second-half goals in the third-place match to earn Concacaf’s third and final World Cup berth.
Mexico, which had scored 57 goals leading into the championship game to the USA’s 56, was the most difficult challenge of the competition. The Americans, however, still dominated the match, piling up a 27-7 shot margin and an 8-1 advantage in corner kicks. At times, Mexico did put pressure on the U.S. back line, but the American defense held strong and it was the Americans who had the lion’s share of the scoring chances. Some quality goalkeeping from Mexico’s Carmen Lopez combined with some close-range near misses kept the foes in the game.
Martinho opened the scoring with a long-range shot in the 20th minute that deflected off Lopez’s gloves, onto the underside of crossbar and down across the goal line. The USA dominated the rest of the half, outshooting Mexico, 10-2, to carry the lead into the break.
Both teams came out strong in the second half with Mexico creating a few more problems with its pressing play. In the 66th minute, forward Maribel Flores scored the equalizer after getting on the end of a cross deep in the USA’s penalty box. The goal was the first conceded by the U.S. in its seven matches at the tournament.
The tied score didn’t last for long as USA’s pressing defense forced a turnover deep in the attacking half and forward Taylor Suarez played Rebimbas inside the box. She shook off a defender with some fancy footwork and buried a left-footed shot just inside the right-side netting to regain the lead.