May 12, 2012
U.S. downs Canada for U17 Women's Crown
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala - 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 U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team Canada 1-0 to win the 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship for the second time.
"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.
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.
Munerlyn's 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, but Sheridan came up with a clutch save to push the ball away and keep her team in the match heading into halftime.
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.
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. 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.
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.