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USA clinches berth at world championship
by Paul Kennedy, January 29th, 2010 7AM



[UNDER-20 CONCACAF WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP] The USA beat Costa Rica, 2-1, on Thursday in Guatemala City to qualify for the 2010 Under-20 Women's World Cup in Germany later this year.

The United States, which won the 2008 Under-20 Women's World Cup, got goals from Boston College's Kristie Mewis off Stanford defender Rachel Quon's cross and Stanford's Teresa Noyola (free kick from 23 yards)  to move into Sunday's final of the Concacaf qualifying tournament against Mexico, a 1-0 winner over defending Concacaf champion Canada in the other semifinal.

The Ticas had their chances in the first half, however. Raquel Rodriguez Cedeno's free kick skipped off the top side of the crossbar and Katherine Alvarado's free kick hit the left post.

"First, we are thrilled to be going to the World Cup," said U.S. coach Jill Ellis. "I thought we had a better second half; we won more 50-50 balls and we kept better possession of the ball. We raised our level in the second half, which is what we needed to do, and the players responded well. It was a bit unfortunate to give up a goal but I think the players are happy to be moving on."

Costa Rica's lone goal came in the 77th minute from Vasquez Cedeno.

Jan. 28 in Guatemala City
USA 2 Costa Rica 1.
USA - K.Mewis (Quon) 60th minute
USA - Noyola 71th
CRC - Rodriguez Cedeno (Aguilar) 77th
USA -- Henninger, Quon, Dunn, Pressley, DiMartino, K.Mewis, Richmond (Brooks, 46), Nairn, Noyola, Leroux, McCarty (Bywaters, 57).
Costa Rica -- Tapia, Cruz, Ugalde (Alvarado, 29), Quiros, Alvarado, Rodriguez Vasquez, Rodriguez, Sanchez, Vargas (Aguilar, 61), Venegas (Moreira, 67), Rodriguez Cedeno.
Referee: Arlene Troya (Panama).

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