The U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team defeated a gritty and tough Canada side 1-0 to win the 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship for the second time.
Amber Munerlyn's 21st-minute goal off of a breakaway set up with a creative assist from Summer Green proved to be the difference as the USA withstood a frenetic finish to keep Canada off the scoreboard.
"We knew it was going to be a very difficult game going into it," U.S. U-17 Women's National Team head coach Albertin Montoya said. "That's a credit to both teams. Canada threw everything at us, but we defended very well. I thought we were the better team in the first half, but in the second half Canada really came at us and it's a credit to our backs who made the plays when they needed to."
The victory marks the second CONCACAF crown for the U.S. U-17s, which also won the tournament in 2008. Canada took first place in the 2010 event.
In a game that featured end-to-end play from the two 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup-bound sides, who had earned their berths to Azerbaijan through semifinal victories on May 10, the USA faced a team that was equal to the task in terms of fighting spirit and work rate.
The USA had the better of the chances in the first half and was able to manufacture Munerlyn's goal. The play started when defender Maddie Bauer knocked a long service up the middle to forward Summer Green, who coolly back-heeled the ball to Munerlyn making a run through the Canadian back line. Munerlyn beat two Canada defenders with speed, and with goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan closing the distance fast, she calmly lifted the ball just to the right of the 'keeper's shoulder and into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
The score marked Munerlyn's first goal of the tournament as she became the 10th different U.S. player to score for the USA in Guatemala. In total, the U.S. outscored its opponents 26-0 at the 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship
Munerlyn nearly had her second goal of the match in the 34th minute with Green again providing the setup, dribbling into the right side of the box and fending off a Canada defender near the end line before crossing the ball to the near post. Munerlyn got on the end of the pass, but her shot struck the outside of the right post.
The USA also came close to extending its lead with Margaret Purce's 44th-minute strike from the left side. Purce, who along with Munerlyn and Sarah Robinson got the start after sitting out Thursday's semifinal win against Panama, cut past Canada defender Lindsay Agnew and stormed past Nicole Loncar to take a shot toward the near left post. Sheridan came up with a clutch save to push the ball away and keep her team in the match heading into halftime.
Canada's attack grew in intensity in the second half but the Americans were organized, tough and brave in their team defending. While the Canadians took eight shots in the second half, only two were on goal, and the U.S. backs were able to clear away numerous dangerous services, including several balls that were bouncing inside the penalty area.
Canada had a dangerous free kick chance from 20 yards out in the 79th-minute, but Madeline Iozzi's shot that looked headed on frame was headed away by Bauer, who along with center-back Mandy Freeman and outside backs Brittany Basinger and Gabbi Miranda, were stellar throughout the match. Montoya sent on Lizzy Raben for the tiring Miranda in the 85th minute and she contributed several excellent passes and won several balls to help the USA salt the game away.
Canada kept coming at the USA until the final whistle, finding most of its success on the flanks. Canada's most opportunistic effort came in the 82nd minute when Iozzi delivered a nice ball from her left back position to forward Valerie Sanderson, who chest trapped the ball in the middle of the box and took a shot with her left foot. Fortunately for the USA, Sanderson's attempt went directly into the arms of U.S. goalkeeper Jane Campbell. Campbell earned her fifth straight shutout in the tournament, but was more active in this game than in the previous four games combined.
The U.S. defense held strong into the final minutes as Iozzi just missed connecting with Sanderson in the waning seconds while Summer Clarke's shot from the right went wide of the frame in the 86th minute. In the 89th minute, Freeman blocked another Sanderson shot. Three minutes of stoppage time were added at the end of the match, but Canada could only manage a couple of long distance attempts and a few additional crosses that were cleared by the back line as the USA maintained its poise until the final whistle.
Green was dangerous throughout the match, but was held scoreless for the first time in the tournament. Her 12 goals in the five games broke the previous CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship record of nine set by the USA's Lindsey Horan at the 2010 qualifying tournament. With her assist to Munerlyn on Saturday, Green also led the U.S. in the tournament with four assists.
Mexico defeated Panama 6-0 in the third-place match to earn the third and final CONCACAF berth to the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup.
The USA will now begin to focus on the third FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup that will be staged in Azerbaijan from Sept. 22 to Oct. 13. The USA, Canada and Mexico join Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria from Africa, China PR, Japan and Korea DPR from Asia, New Zealand from Oceania and Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay from South America. The 16-team field also includes host Azerbaijan with the remaining two teams from Europe still to be determined.
- U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team Match Report -
Match: United States U-17 Women's National Team vs. Canada U-17 WNT
Date: May 12, 2012
Competition: 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship - Championship
Venue: Estadio Cementos Progreso; Guatemala City, Guatemala
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. MT (6:30 p.m. ET)
Weather: 70 degrees, warm, breezy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
CAN 0 0 0
USA - Amber Munerlyn (Summer Green) 21st minute
USA: 1-Jane Campbell; 3-Brittany Basinger, 5-Maddie Bauer, 16-Mandy Freeman, 6-Gabbi Miranda (2-Lizzy Raben, 85); 10-Morgan Andrews (capt.), 17-Sarah Robinson (14-Lauren Kaskie, 54), 11-Morgan Stanton; 4-Amber Munerlyn, 8-Summer Green, 15-Margaret Purce (9-Emily Bruder, 64)
Subs Not Used: 7-Andi Sullivan, 13-Darian Jenkins, 18-Cassie Miller, 19-Toni Payne
Not Available: 12-Joanna Boyles, 20-Morgan Reid
Head Coach: Albertin Montoya
CAN: 1-Kailen Sheridan; 2-Lindsay Agnew (8-Jasmin Dhanda, 79), 3-Madeline Iozzi, 4-Summer Clarke, 5-Rebecca Quinn, 7-Ashley Lawrence (capt.), 9-Amandine Pierre-Louis (11-Nichelle Prince, 46), 10-Valerie Sanderson, 12-Kadeisha Buchanan, 14-Rebecca Pongetti, 19-Nicole Loncar (20-Larisa Staub, 67)
Subs Not Used: 6-Sabrina Santarossa, 13-Elissa Neff, 15-Victoria Pickett, 18-Taylor Bucklin
Not Available: 16-Carley Radomski, 17-Kajal Parmar
Head Coach: Bryan Rosenfeld
Stats Summary: USA / CAN
Shots:10 / 13
Shots on Goal:5 / 2
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 3 / 7
Fouls: 6 / 8
Offside: 2 / 1
Referee: Alicia Villatoro (GUA)
Assistant Referee: Marisol Salazar (GUA)
Assistant Referee: Shirley Perello (HON)
Fourth Official: Dianne Ferreira-James (GUY)
ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: Mandy Freeman
Match report courtesy of www.ussoccer.com
adidas has added some color to the Predator line with this new colorway. Released on May 17. Be the first to own a pair.
Chelsea won the Europa League on Wednesday. The Blues defeated Benfica 2-1 on injury time goal from Ivanovic.
One of the top soccer cleats for control the Nike CTR360 will not let you down on the field in tight spaces.
The push for more color on their cleats, adidas has added the infrared colorway to the adiZero f50 Line.
Ajax has released their away soccer jersey for the 2013/14 season. Get in the Gear.
The Liverpool 2013/14 soccer jersey is available for pre-order. The Reds are eager to compete for silver next season.
The new PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 FG. A great new soccer cleat with classic look and first time for PUMA to be on the cleat.
The adidas Nitrocharge is the most talked about new cleat in years. It was released on May 15 and will take your pitch by storm.
The Juventus jersey for the 2013/14 was released earlier this week. Be the first to wear the colors of the Old Lady.
Borussia Dortmund hears Wembley Calling and are headed to London for the Champions League final.