Jan. 19, 2006
CORDOBA, Mexico (January 19, 2006) - UCLA's Christina DiMartino, Danesha Adams and Kelsey Davis all played a part in the U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team's 4-1 win over a physical Jamaican team in its first Group B match at the 2006 CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Final Round Qualification Tournament. UCLA goalkeeper Valerie Henderson is also on the team, however did not play Thursday.
"I was very pleased with the effort, very pleased with camaraderie, the talking and the organization," said U.S. head coach Tim Schulz. "What was exiting about the game is that I know that there's so much more inside them and so much better we can play, but it was an excellent start and foundation to build on."
The young U.S. team show a bit of nerves at the outset in front of the pro-Jamaican crowd, but settled down after DiMartino opened the scoring in the 36 minute, running onto a rolling cross from Rodriguez, who had gotten around the defense on the left side, to finish smartly from eight yards out.
Rodriguez then got one herself right before halftime, running onto a flicked header from defender Sarah Wagenfuhr. The veteran of the U.S. team that played in the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship took a couple of touches to beat a defender then smacked her shot into the left corner from 16 yards out to make it 2-0.
Schulz made two substitutions at halftime, sending on Allie Long and Jordan Angeli into the midfield and moving Adams up top. The move paid off in the 70th minute as Adams was able to finish out of a goalmouth scramble from close range. The U.S. added its final goal in the 81st minute.
Jamaica had pulled a goal back in the 76th minute as Kenesha Reid caught U.S. goalkeeper Kelsey Davis out of her net and chipped the ball in from outside the penalty area. Davis had an active afternoon, facing 14 Jamaican shots and making five saves.
The match was marked by some rough play and numerous sightings of the stretcher crew as the Jamaicans attempted to slow the game down, but the U.S. players, 10 of whom were playing their first-ever U-20 international, were able to keep their heads during a feisty second half.
"The Jamaicans are creative and they do some unorthodox things that can kind of put you in trouble at times and they had a couple of chances," said Schulz. "But I was very proud of our players. They always stuck to the game plan, they played with composure, and they looked like pros out there."
The USA will face Surinam in its second Group B match on Jan. 21 in Cordoba and then finish group play with El Salvador on Jan. 23. El Salvador defeated Surinam, 3-0, in the other Group B match. At the conclusion of the first round on January 23, the winners and runners-up in each group will earn a place in the event's semifinals at Veracruz's Luis Pirata Fuentes Stadium on January 25, with the winners of the semifinal games earning a place as CONCACAF representatives in the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Championship.
CONCACAF's third spot will be determined by a third-place play-off game between the two losing semifinalists, also at Luis Pirata Fuentes, on January 27, before the two finalists meet for the CONCACAF Women's U-20 crown later in the day.
Story courtesy of U.S. Soccer