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El Paso, TX — The U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team fell to Mexico on penalty kicks (4-2) after the teams ended regulation tied 1-1 in the CONCACAF Women's U-17 Championship semifinal. The U.S. will face the loser of the other semifinal - either Canada or Jamaica - in the third-place match on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. ET at the Montego Bay Sports complex.
The loss means the United States will not advance to the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, which will be held next year in Costa Rica.
After not surrendering a goal in an undefeated run through the group stage of the tournament, the U.S. U-17 WNT allowed Mexico forward Briana Woodall to score the opening goal of the semifinal in the fifth minute of the match. Madison Haley equalized for the USA in the 27th minute.
Despite dominating the run of play through the rest of the match, the U.S. was unable to make good on numerous chances against a Mexican team content to put numbers behind the ball and defend deep in their own territory. Per tournament regulations, no overtime was played and the match went right to penalty kicks where El Paso native and Mexico goalkeeper Emily Alvarado played the hero by saving a do-or-die penalty kick from U.S. defender Zoe Morse in the fourth round.
Mexico stunned the U.S. with an early opening goal as Monica Rodriguez sent a quick throw-in to Janae Gonzalez, whose looping cross found Woodall unmarked in the middle of the U.S. penalty area. The Mexico striker sent a header just beneath the crossbar and out of the reach of U.S. goalkeeper Lauren Rood. It was the first goal the USA has conceded at this year's tournament.
Ten minutes later, Haley nearly tied the match after a powerful run took her through the heart of the Mexico defense, but Alvarado charged out to cut down the angle and forced Haley to roll her shot just wide of the left post. Haley went close again minutes later, but pushed a header just wide after Zoe Redei did well to gain the end line and sent in a cross.
Haley hauled the U.S. level in the 27th minute, tucking home her second goal of the tournament from the top of the six-yard box after Mallory Pugh sped past the Mexico defense on the left side and cut the ball back for her tailing strike partner.
Moments before halftime, the U.S. nearly went ahead when Haley nodded down a long ball for midfielder Anika Rodriguez at the back post, but her close-range shot was deflected by Alvarado across the goal mouth and just wide of the right post. Redei kept the ball in bounds and served it back into the box for Rodriguez who settled it for Haley, but the striker hit her shot wide.
Rood was rarely called into action for the U.S., but reacted well to save a Rebeca Bernal shot in the 58th minute after being penalized picking up the ball, putting it back on the ground and picking it up again, which handed Mexico an indirect free kick just outside the U.S. penalty area.
Although the USA dominated the run of play throughout the remainder of regulation, the team was unable to put away a smattering of chances against a determined Mexico team that took every opportunity to take time off the clock.
In penalty kicks, Bernal shot and scored first for Mexico, but Taylor Racioppi saw her effort saved to put the U.S. behind early. Eva Gonzalez and Miriam Garcia of Mexico then traded goals with the USA's Tegan McGrady and Pugh through the next two rounds.
In the fourth round of PKs, Rood was able to get her fingertips to Arlett Tovar's shot, but it was not enough to keep the ball out. With Mexico leading 4-2, Morse had her penalty kick saved by Alvarado, sending Mexico through to the final of the tournament, as well as the 2014 FIFA Women's Under-17 World Cup in Costa Rica.
• This is the second time a U.S. Women's National Team has failed to qualify for a FIFA Women's World Cup. The first time came in 2010 when the USA went out in similar fashion, falling in penalty kicks to Canada in the semifinal after dominating the game and the first round of the tournament.
• As Costa Rica is the U-17 Women's World Cup host next year, CONCACAF got just two berths to the tournament in this cycle, thus qualifying only the semifinal winners.
• All 20 players on the U.S. roster have played in the tournament.
• The USA outscored its opposition 17-0 in the group stage of the tournament and has still yet to lose a match in this tournament.
• Mexico's goal was the first allowed by the USA in the CONCACAF U-17 qualifying tournament since July 27, 2008, in a 4-1 win against Costa Rica in the championship game of the tournament. It was just the third goal ever given up by the USA in this competition.
• Mallory Pugh's assist was her second of the tournament.
• U.S. head coach B.J. Snow used three subs, all in the second half. Taylor Racioppi replaced Dorian Bailey in the 65th minute, Kelcie Hedge entered for Madison Haley in the 75th and Mia Gyau replaced Anika Rodriguez in the 83rd.
• Defender Natalie Jacobs is the only U.S. player to play all 360 minutes of the tournament so far.
• Racioppi received her second yellow card of the tournament in the 86th minute and will not be eligible for the third-place match.
-U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team Match Report-
Match: U.S. U-17 Women's National Team vs. Mexico
Date: Nov. 7, 2013
Competition: CONCACAF Women's U-17 Championship - Semifinal
Venue: Montego Bay Sports Complex; Montego Bay, Jamaica
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
Weather: 85 degrees, humid
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F PK
USA 1 0 1 2
MEX 1 0 1 4
MEX - Briana Woodall (Janae Gonzalez) 5th minute
USA - Madison Haley (Mallory Pugh) 27
MEX: Rebeca Bernal (goal), Eva Gonzalez (goal), Miriam Garcia (goal), Arlett Tovar (goal)
USA: Taylor Racioppi (saved), Tegan McGrady (goal), Mallory Pugh (goal), Zoe Morse (saved)
USA: 1-Lauren Rood; 10-Ellie Jean (capt.), 9-Zoe Morse, 6-Natalie Jacobs, 12-Tegan McGrady; 4-Marley Canales, 2-Dorian Bailey (14-Taylor Racioppi, 65), 15-Zoe Redei; 19-Anika Rodriguez (7-Mia Gyau, 83), 3-Madison Haley (8-Kelcie Hedge, 75), 17-Mallory Pugh
Subs Not Used: 5-Gabriella Carreiro, 11-Civana Kuhlmann, 13-Taylor Otto, 18-Kat Hess, 22-Maddy Schultz, 25-Frankie Tagliaferri
Head Coach: B.J. Snow
MEX: 1-Emily Alvarado; 2-Miriam García, 3-Vanessa Flores, 4-Rebeca Bernal, 13-Monica Rodriguez; 6-Eva Gonzalez, 8-Briana Woodall, 18-Belen Cruz, 9-Janae Gonzalez (5-Alma Martinez, 72); 10-Betzy Cuevas (14-Arlett Tovar, 46), 16-Cinthia Huerta (11-Montserrat Hernandez, 80)
Subs Not Used: 7-Aylin Villalobos, 12-Miriam Aguirre, 15-Jessica Moreno, 17-Natalia Villarreal, 19-Marianna Maldonado, 20-Jaqueline García
Head Coach: Leo Cuellar
Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 10 / 6
Shots on Goal: 4 / 3
Saves: 2 / 3
Corner Kicks: 11 / 2
Fouls: 11 / 8
Offside: 7 / 1
USA - Taylor Racioppi (caution) 86th minute
Referee: Melissa Borjas (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Nykasie Liverpool (GUY)
Assistant Referee 2: Neredia Diaz (CUB)
Fourth Official: Sheena Dickson (CAN)
Woman of the Match: Mallory Pugh
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