U.S., Panama advance to Concacaf Women’s Championship semifinals; Mexico eliminated
The United States and Panama are headed to the semifinals of the tournament
The United States and Panama are heading to Frisco, Texas, for the semifinals of the Concacaf Women's Championship. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)
The United States and Panama are heading to Frisco, Texas, for the semifinals of the Concacaf Women's Championship. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The United States finished off the group stage at the Concacaf Women’s Championship with a 7-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago on a rainy Wednesday night at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.

The United States finished Group A action in first place, and will play the second-place team from Group B (likely either Costa Rica or Jamaica) in the semifinals on Sunday in Frisco, Texas. That game will take place at 8 p.m. ET and will be televised on FS1. Panama, after a 2-0 upset of Mexico on Wednesday, finished in second place, and will play the winner of Group B (likely Canada). That game will air live at 5 p.m. ET on FS1. Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago have been eliminated.

The top two teams in each group advance to the semifinals, which assures at least a play-off vs. Argentina for a World Cup berth. A win in the semifinals or in the third place game qualifies each team for the World Cup. The group stage of the tournament concludes Thursday with Cuba vs. Jamaica and Costa Rica vs. Canada in Group B. Canada leads Group B, with Costa Rica in second and Jamaica close behind in third.

Orlando Pride Alex Morgan scored her first goal of the game in the ninth minute, flicking in a cross from Portland Thorns FC forward Tobin Heath.

For awhile after that it seemed like it might be frustrating night for the U.S., as a number of shots hit the woodwork and Trinidad & Tobago goalkeeper Saundra Baron made nine saves in the first half.

But then the game broke open at the end of the first half when the U.S. scored three goals in four minutes. Washington Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle scored in the 41st and 43rd minutes. First, a left-footed shot from distance.

Then, a finish in the box for her first career brace.

In the 45th, it was the North Carolina Courage’s Crystal Dunn’s turn to score from outside the box.

It was more of the same in the second half for the U.S. with Portland Thorns FC Lindsey Horan dialing up a goal from distance. Chicago Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz had her shot blocked, and the rebound fell to Horan.

Morgan finished her brace in the 50th minute with a shot off the post. It’s Morgan’s 14th goal for the USWNT in 2018. She now has 21 goals in her last 22 USWNT games, and 94 international goals.

Heath made it 7-0 in the 59th minute, finishing off an inch-perfect pass from Seattle Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe.

The United States finished off Group A action with three wins, outscoring opponents 18-0, and needing just one big save from Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris in their second game to keep their defensive record perfect. Chicago Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher started the first and third group stage games and picked up clean sheets in both.


Panama 2 | Mexico 0

Panama advanced to the semifinals of the Concacaf Women’s Championship with a 2-0 win over Mexico in the first game on Wednesday night. The result means that Mexico will miss out on the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France next summer.

Mexico needed all three points to move on to the semifinals, and Panama just a draw, but Panama got the win with a strong defensive performance and two second half goals.

Karla Riley scored on a volley for Panama in the 47th minute, but it was largely the Yenith Bailey show once again for Panama. The 17-year-old goalkeeper, who impressed in performances vs. Trinidad & Tobago and the United States, made fives saves to earn the shutout on Wednesday night.

Bailey’s biggest save came at the end of the first half, diving to her left to stop a penalty kick by Charlyn Corral after a handball in the box.

Katie Johnson (Sky Blue FC) and Christina Murillo (Chicago Red Stars) started for Mexico. Johnson subbed off in the 76th minute.

Bailey also came off her line a number of times for catches and clearances. In the 73rd minute, she went to the ground to beat Johnson to a long ball played over the top. In the 78th minute, she made a catch in traffic to deny Monica Ocampo a header opportunity in the box.

Lineth Cedeño sealed the win with a goal in the 85th minute.


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