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Mexico shocks USA in greatest women's upset ever
by Paul Kennedy, November 6th, 2010 12:02AM
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TAGS:  mexico, women's national team, women's world cup


[WOMEN'S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING] Winless in 25 previous games -- 24 losses and one tie -- and outscored by a 106-9 margin, Mexico recorded the greatest upset in the history of women's soccer when it beat the United States, 2-1, Friday night in the Concacaf Women's World Cup qualifying tournament in Cancun. Californian Veronica Perez's goal completed a wild first half and qualified Mexico for the 2011 Women's World Cup with a thoroughly deserved victory.

(Click here for complete highlights or view them below.)

The loss relegated the United States to Monday's third-place game against Costa Rica in the Concacaf qualifying tournament (UPDATE: the game will broadcast live on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. ET). The Americans will need to win that game to advance to a playoff against Europe's No. 5 team, Italy, for a berth in next year's finals (see below).

Canada beat Costa Rica, 4-0, in the other semifinal and claimed Concacaf's other automatic bid to the world championships.

Mexico, which was coming off a 3-0 loss to Canada in the group stage of the Concacaf tournament, exposed the shaky U.S. backline in an eventful first half that saw all three goals come in the first 26 minutes.

In just the third minute, former WUSA star Maribel Dominguez scored her sixth goal of the tournament, finishing off a play that began when Nayeli Rangel flicked on Natalie Garcia's header into the area.

It was the sixth goal by Dominguez in the tournament and the first allowed by the United States.

The Americans equalized in the 25th minute when Carli Lloyd scored on a rebound after goalie Erika Vanegas failed to clear Megan Rapinoe's corner kick.

But Mexico raced down and went back ahead a minute later when Perez scored on a header off Juana Lopez's cross.

The USA pressed for the equalizer but lacked flair and creativity and grew frustrated as the game went on. Three Americans received yellow cards in the second half and the USA was whistled for 25 fouls to only four for Mexico.

Both teams finished with only 10 players when Abby Wambach and Kenti Robles had to leave the field with head wounds following a collision.

The loss continued a year of misery for the U.S. women's national team program. The USA failed to qualify for the U-17 Women's World Cup and lost in the quarterfinals of the U-20 women's championship.

It was just the second loss in 60 matches under U.S. coach Pia Sundhage and first since the USA fell to Norway in its opening game at the 2008 Olympics.

“You can’t take anything for granted,” said Sundhage. “We knew Mexico would be a good team and that it would be a good game. Today, they scored one more goal than we did and their early goal made a big difference. They got the 12th player, the crowd to support them and they had so much energy. Not only that, when we scored to tie the game, they came back to score right after.”

The game, only the second in the USA-Mexico series played on Mexican soil, drew 8,500 fans at Estadio Quintana Roo.

Perez, who attended the University of Washington, was one of three Californians to start for the Tri femenil.

Center backs Natalie Vinti and Natalie Garcia played together at the University of San Diego.

Perez and Vinti have graduated, while Garcia is a junior at USD.

PLAYOFF. If the USA beats Costa Rica, it will play Italy for the first leg of the playoff series on Nov. 20. The home leg would be played on Nov. 27 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

Nov. 5 in Cancun
Mexico 2 USA 1. Dominguez 3, Perez 27; Lloyd 25.
Mexico -- Venegas, Robles (Castillo, 93+), Vinti, Garcia, Saucedo, Lopez (Morales, 52), Worbis, Rangel, Dominguez, Garza, Perez.
USA -- Barnhart, Mitts, LePeilbet, Rampone, Buehler (Lilly, 84), O’Reilly (Morgan, 60), Boxx, Lloyd, Rapinoe, Rodriguez, Wambach.
Yellow Cards: Mexico -- Robles 42; USA -- Rapinoe 61, Boxx 79, Rampone 90.
Referee: Dianne Ferreira (Guyana).
Att.: 8,500.

  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: November 6, 2010 at 8:55 a.m.
    The CONCACAF system in qualifying to the FIFA tournaments (other than the men WC) is not fair at all. Teams' qualification shouldn't come after a single game elemination round. When teams reach the crucial round, they should either play round robin tournament and top two qaulify or the elemination round should be home and away game.
  1. Nathan Geason
    commented on: November 6, 2010 at 9:44 a.m.
    The problem with the US Team - lack of skill. Look no further than Shannon Boxx and Abby Wambach. Who would you rather have on the filed Michele Ackers? A complete soccer player or Shannon Boxx - a physical no skill player. Abby is a great goal soccer player which is a wonderful talent, but soccer skill, not so much. The US team has been relying on kicking the ball to Abby to kick into the net way to much. It finally caught up with them. I can not imagine a World Cup without the US.
  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: November 6, 2010 at 12:57 p.m.
    Ric: It was not sour grapes. And this is not the first time I thought about it. It happened many time before. Not only in CONCACAF but also in Asian and African qualifications to any FIFA tournament that is not the men's world cup. A single game should not be used for elemination, regardless. Mexico also was on the end of such game in the past.
  1. Normand Conquest
    commented on: November 6, 2010 at 1:20 p.m.
    This is the system which CONCACAF has set up because there is not the same level of support for all of the countries in the region. ...other note Abby Wambach is a skilled player, this team just is not that confident when it is behind. They are also not that proficient at shooting on goal. It is always the case that the shots on goal are generally below 25% ... look at the box scores, Wambach is the only one who consistently puts the balls on frame. It makes me think of Harvey Penick's Little Red Book for golf where players work on putting with a single ball and make it count. The USA had always had the best athletes, they now need to be the best players. Mia Hamm and Michelle Akers are not out there. Wambach is an elite player but the players on the field with her last night were no where in her league. Congratulations to Mexico on their playing as a team ... the USA needed a Bobby Convey type to complement a Wambach.
  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: November 6, 2010 at 3:24 p.m.
    First, I want to state that I am a "BIG" USWNT fan. But, I'm not displeased that Mexico beat the US. An upset like this can only draw more interest to the sport. I did not see the game, but from watching the highlights it looked the the Mexican team played with a lot more enthusiasm. They also looked a 1/2-step quicker.
  1. Normand Conquest
    commented on: November 6, 2010 at 8:28 p.m.
    Paul -- You are right and you missed a good game. The stats are misleading, the Mexican keeper made some great saves or it might have gone the way it had in the past. The US attack was not imaginative and looked desperate. They never really looked in control, Mexico did put 11 behind the ball and countered -- that is not new to the USWNT. Telling thing was the poor passing by the USA and the flatfooted waiting on the ball, looked like a youth team with talented players where the players are not comfortable with their roles. The Mexican team played with heart and were flat out quicker to the ball. I am pissed that the USWNT lost but I agree this can only help the women's game. The other thing is that why are so many American born Mexican players not in the US system? They outplayed their US fellow Americans last night. This may be what the USWNT needs going into the WWC. It is better to get the wake-up call now and not in Germany next summer.
  1. Normand Conquest
    commented on: November 6, 2010 at 8:31 p.m.
    Mexico was the team in control in this game. A deserved victory. Would you ever think you would hear a fan of the Mexican Mens team ever admit that after one of the US victories?
  1. Omar Avila
    commented on: November 7, 2010 at 1:51 a.m.
    It's hard to admit it, but you're totally right Arthur. We always look for an excuse instead of admitting that you deserved the victory. Saludos from Mexico
  1. David Huff
    commented on: November 8, 2010 at 12:32 p.m.
    It would have been nice to see Natasha Kai playing and it looks like USA could have used her. Natasha could have provided the excellent world-class speed needed and more than enough swagger and warrioress attitude to take on the Mexicanas (I would bet on the Hawaiiana against them every time). @ Arthur, the reason why you see so many Mexican American women playing for Mexico instead of the US is twofold. One, it is much harder for anyone to make the USWNT where the player pool is so deep and conversely the Mexico player pool is very thin because until recently the 'macho' attitude at FMF hampered the development of homegrown talent for Mexico. As a result, El Tri feminina is overly reliant on "foreigners", especially one that have played college soccer at US colleges and universities. You'll see that more than half their starting lineup consists of such players due to the lingering effects of the 'machoitis'. It is really funny to see because the Mexican's men's program goes crazy when naturalized players are considered for El Tri rather than homegrown ones born and raised in Mexico (a good example of this was WC 2006 when Ricardo Lavolpe selected naturalized players for El Tri with much controversy with FMF).

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