ST. GEORGES, Grenada (March 8, 2016) – The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team won its group at the 2016 CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship with a 2-0 victory against Costa Rica thanks to first half goals from Alexa Spaanstra and Ashley Sanchez. The U.S. will face Canada in the tournament semifinals on Friday for a place at the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
The USA controlled large stretches of the game through smart possession and constant pressure on Costa Rica when the Ticas managed to get hold of the ball. It didn’t take the young Americans long to find the net as Sophia Smith found Spaanstra for the opening goal in the sixth minute. A half hour later, U.S. forward Frankie Tagliaferri drew a penalty kick that Sanchez converted with aplomb.
The second half saw U.S. head coach B.J. Snow use all three subs, getting players experience and saving some legs in the intense humidity in advance of Friday’s all important semifinal.
The semifinal against Canada will take place on March 11 with a berth to the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup on the line. The match will be broadcast on FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Sports Go.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Alex Spaanstra (Sophia Smith), sixth minute: The game-winning goal was created off a brilliant dribbling run from Sophia Smith, who left several defenders in her wake as she drove into the right side of the penalty area, got to the end line, drew the ‘keeper to the near post and cut a pass back to Spaanstra in the seam for her to tap home from close range. USA 1, CRC 0 (SEE GOAL)
USA – Ashley Sanchez (Penalty Kick), 38th minute: The ball was crossed in for Frankie Tagliaferri who was in on goal before being chopped down by a Costa Rica defender. The referee pointed to the penalty spot and the U.S. captain Ashley Sanchez stepped up to send a right-footed shot well out of reach of the ‘keeper into the left side netting. USA 2, CRC 0 (SEE GOAL) FINAL
USA – Brianna Pinto, 36th minute: Costa Rica carved out its best chance of the game on a crafty set piece that got Fabiola Lobo free in the U.S. penalty box. She sent a cross to the back right post where a scramble eventually saw the ball deflect back to the left side of goal and fall to Maria Salas, who got a header on target that was volleyed clear by Pinto.
CRC – María Fernanda Sanabria, 28th minute: Ashley Sanchez put on a show, dancing past multiple defenders along the Costa Rica end line before getting off a close range shot that was saved by goalkeeper Akira Rubi. The rebound fell to U.S. midfielder Brianna Pinto just outside the six-yard box, but her one-time, goal-bound shot was cleared off the goal line by María Fernanda Sanabria to keep the U.S. from running up the score early.
Next on the Schedule: The U.S. will attempt to qualify for the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup against Canada on March 11 (FOX Soccer Plus) at Grenada National Stadium in St. Georges, Grenada. Click here for the full tournament schedule.
- The USA has now won its World Cup Qualifying group for the fifth consecutive time and remains perfect in the qualifying group stage with a 15-0-0 all-time record since the beginning of the competition in 2008.
- Ashley Sanchez is one of only two players in this year’s tournament to score in all three group stage matches. Haiti’s Mikerline Saint Felix is the other.
- With four goals in the group stage, Sanchez is one score behind the leader in the tournament Golden Boot race.
- Alex Spaanstra’s opening goal made her the USA’s fourth different goal scorer in the tournament.
- U.S. goalkeeper Laurel Ivory collected her second clean sheet of the competition, becoming the only ‘keeper with two so far in the tournament.
- The USA held Costa Rica to just one shot and none on goal.
- The USA finished group play scoring 11 goals and allowing just one.
- U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team vs. Costa Rica U-17 Women’s National Team
Date: March 8, 2016
Competition: 2016 CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship – Group B
Venue: Grenada National Stadium; St. George’s, Grenada
Weather: 84 degrees; hot and sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 0 2
CRC 0 0 0
USA – Alexa Spaanstra (Sophia Smith) 6th minute
USA – Ashley Sanchez (penalty kick) 38
USA: 1-Laurel Ivory; 15-Kennedy Wesley, 4-Naomi Girma, 6-Emily Smith, 19-Kate Wiesner; 2-Taryn Torres, 8-Brianna Pinto, 3-Sophia Smith (17-Jordan Canniff, 46), 20-Frankie Tagliaferri (13-Rachel Jones, 83), 7-Alexa Spaanstra; 10-Ashley Sanchez (capt.) (11-Izzy Rodriguez, 69)
Subs Not Used: 9-Kiara Pickett, 12-Hillary Beall, 14-Civana Kuhlmann, 16-Karina Rodriguez, 18-Jaelin Howell
Not available: 5-Sydney Zandi
Head Coach: B.J. Snow
CRC: 1-Akira Rubi; 6-Fabiola Lobo, 2-Valeria Del Campo, 15-Stephannie Blanco, 4-Yedry Salas; 8-María Fernanda Sanabria, 5-Sabrina Vásquez, 20-Emma Víquez (16-Carmen Marín, 67), 12-Maria Salas (19-Ziuliani Rodríguez, 85); 10-Gloriana Villalobos (capt.) (11-Priscilla Chinchilla, 79), 9-Mereilyn Alvarado
Subs Not Used: 3-Viviana Villalobos, 13-Yendry Rojas, 18-Valeria Román, 7-Pamela Mora, 14-Irela Rodríguez, 17-Hilary Corrales
Head Coach: Amelia Valverde
Stats Summary: USA / CRC
Shots: 16 / 1
Shots on Goal: 6 / 0
Saves: 0 / 3
Corner Kicks: 9 / 0
Fouls: 14 / 8
Offside: 3 / 0
CRC – Stephannie Blanco (caution) 37th minute
CRC – Stephannie Blanco (caution) 82
CRC – Stephannie Blanco (ejection) 82
USA – Briana Pinto (caution) 87
Referee: Tatiana Montes (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Suzanne Morisset (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Wesline Louis (HAI)
4th Official: Marie-Soieil Beaudoin (CAN)