U-20s Earn World Championship Berth in 3-0 Win Over Mexico

Courtesy U.S. Soccer Communications

VERACRUZ, Mexico (January 25, 2006) - The U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team got two spectacular goals from midfielder Brittany Bock, including a stunning diving header that sealed the match, to defeat Mexico, 3-0, in front of a boisterous crowd to qualify for the 2006 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Championship in Russia.

Bock's two scores, her first international goals, were sandwiched around a goal from forward Amy Rodriguez, her third of the tournament.

The victory in the second semifinal of the 2006 CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Final Round Qualifying Tournament earned the USA one of three coveted berths to the 3rd FIFA championship for youth women. Canada secured its place with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Jamaica in the first semifinal. Mexico and Jamaica will meet in the third-place match on Friday, January 27, with the winner earning the final CONCACAF berth to Russia.

The USA and Canada will meet in the regional championship game on Friday. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. local time / 4 p.m. ET and fans can follow the action live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker.

The U.S. team had most of the possession in the match and created quality chances throughout the game. In just the second minute, Danesha Adams got her head to a cross, forcing Mexican goalkeeper Anjuli Ladron de Guevara to push the ball off the crossbar before grabbing it.

Defender Jordan Angeli powered a 25-yard rocket in the 11th minute, but it was right into the hands of Guevara. Seven minutes later, flank midfielder Tina DiMartino got behind the Mexican defense in the right side of the penalty area, but spun her left-footed shot straight at de Guevara who had come out to cut down the angle.

It took some Rodriguez dribbling magic to break down the feisty Mexicans as the U.S. forward ran out of a jersey-grab on a dynamic foray to goal, only to be chopped down 22-yards from the net, just left of the penalty arc. Bock stepped up and hit a thundering Roberto Carlos-esque free kick with the outside of her right foot into the left side of the net to open the scoring.

Most of the danger created by Mexico came from U.S. turnovers in the midfield and a few quick counter-attacks that were well defended by the U.S. back line, but the hosts did have a handful of chances to score. In the first half, Rebecca Mendoza got her head to a cross from the right side that bounced just past right post from close range, while Christine Nieva chipped a free-kick from 20 yards out that landed on the top of net. The majority of the attacking, however, was done by the Americans, who out-shot Mexico, 18-7 for the match.

Schulz sent on Amanda Poach and Kelley O'Hara at halftime, moving to 4-3-3 formation. The youngster made an immediate impact, getting around the right side of the defense on numerous occasions to send in dangerous crosses.

Mexico showed some fight early in the second half, earning two corner kicks and hitting two shots in the first 10 minutes, but Rodriguez doubled the lead in the 59th minute.

The goal sequence started with Kasey Moore sliding to win a ball just over the half line rolling it straight to Allie Long, who played a stellar game in the center of the U.S. midfield. Long turned toward goal as she collected and played a perfect thread pass to Rodriguez at top of the box. The U.S. forward held off a defender and let the ball run across her body as she powered into the penalty area before unleashing a shot from 16 yards. De Guevara got a hand on it, but couldn't keep it out of the net as it bounced across the goal line.

Two minutes later Rodriguez almost scored again as O'Hara blazed to the end line and cut back a short cross on the ground, but she cut her shot just wide of the left post from six yards out.

The capper came in the 71st minute after Angeli was fouled from behind near the left sideline. Moore sent a perfectly driven cross to the far post that was met by the flying Bock, who went horizontal to power her diving header back across the goal and into the left side netting.

One minute later Angeli skipped a free kick off the top of the crossbar from 19 yards away, but by then, the match had already been decided.

U.S. goalkeeper Kelsey Davis made three saves to earn the shutout, the toughest of which came in the 74th minute when she had to dive to her left to snare a shot from Norma Mendez.

The USA and Mexico also met in the semifinal of the 2004 CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament, then a U-19 event, with the Americans coming away with a 6-0 victory and a berth to the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship in Thailand. The U.S. team then fell to Canada in the title match, 2-1, and will be looking to reclaim the regional title on Friday.

Rodriguez played the whole match after missing the USA's final group game against El Salvador while serving a suspension for a red card received against Surinam. The U.S. team made it through the first four matches with no players receiving more than one yellow card and will go at full strength against Canada on Friday.

Canada earned its berth to Russia with goals from Selenia Iacchelli just before halftime and Lisa Collison in the second half soon after Jamaica's Kimmia Parker had equalized with a free-kick blast from 40 yards. Jamaica had a golden chance to tie with one minute left, but goalkeeper Erin McNulty saved a near post shot from six yards out to preserve the victory.

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