Canada’s women’s U-17 team has had to settle for second place in Group B at the CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship after falling 2-0 to rivals USA in the final game of group play in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Already assured of their spot in the knockout round coming in, Canada will have to beat hosts Jamaica in the tournament semifinals to earn a spot in next year’s 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. Jamaica were Group A winners.
“We got what we expected from the US which was a high aggressive press which is something these girls haven't yet experienced from their previous two internationals in this championship,” said Canadian head coach Bev Priestman. “It can only help us going in to the semifinal against Jamaica, which will be a tough match physically.”
Zoe Redei’s 36th minute goal was the winner as the Americans controlled vast portions of the game and the Canadians had a tough time putting much together in the way of attacking. Mallory Pugh scored the insurance goal in the 62nd minute for the Americans.
Canada came under pressure almost from the opening whistle and were solid in defence until Redei jumped on a bit of a defensive miscue by the Canadians to give the Americans the lead. Defender Elisabeth Jean drew out a few Canadian defenders on the right side, which left Redei open in the middle.
Jean chipped in a cross that Redei just barely got to and stabbed the ball in on the half volley from close range.
The Americans didn’t let up to start the second half and were rewarded for their pressure when Redei opened up the Canadian back line on the right side. Redei burst through and, before getting to the end line, crossed the ball back where Pugh tapped in from close range.
With just under 10 minutes remaining, Canadian defender Mika Richards was called for a penalty after she was judged to have pulled on Pugh’s jersey in the penalty area.
While Canadian goalkeeper Rylee Foster made two stunning saves to deny the penalty and a follow-up shot, it was more troubling to see Richards taken off the field on a stretcher in considerable pain prior to the penalty kick being taken.
Canada had already used their three allotted substitutions and had to play the rest of the game down a player after Richards was taken off.
Canada went with a starting XI that included Whitecaps FC Girls Elite members Simmrin Dhaliwal and Rachel Jones. Their Girls Elite teammate Jenna Baxter was also subbed on in the 80th minute.
The USA had a starting XI with Lauren Rood in goal with Zoe Morse, Natalie Jacobs, Zoe Redei, and Tegan McGrady on the back line. Marley Canales, Elisabeth Jean, Dorian Bailey, Anika Rodriguez, Kelcie Hedge, and Mallory Pugh were in midfield and attack.
In the second half, USA head coach BJ Snow replaced Rodriguez with Taylor Racioppi (60’), and Redei with Mia Gyau (78’), and Pugh with Madison Schultz (90’).