[CONCACAF UNDER-17 WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP]Soccer can be a cruel sport. None crueler has been the fate of the USA in the Concacaf Under-17 Women's Championship. In four tournaments, the USA has outscored the opposition 103-3 and never lost in 19 games yet it has only qualified for the Under-17 Women's World Cup two of four times. The latest shocker: Mexico beat the USA 4-2 on penalty kicks on Thursday afternoon after their game ended in a 1-1 tie in Montego, Jamaica.
Like in 2010 when the USA fell to Canada in a shootout of a tournament it outscored its opponents 38-0, the USA was eliminated because only the semifinal winners qualify for the Under-17 Women's World Cup. The third Concacaf spot went to host Trinidad & Tobago in 2010 and will go to host Costa Rica in 2014.
U.S. Concacaf U-17 Women's Championship
YEAR GF-GA (FINISH)
2008 29-2 (champion)
2010 38-0 (lost to Canada in shootout in semifinals)
2012 26-0 (champion)
2013 18-1 (lost to Mexico in shootout in semifinals)
The USA fell behind on a goal from Briana Woodall of Texas Rush in the first half. It replied on a goal by Madison Haley-- daughter of former NFL star Charles Haley -- to even the score at 1-1 in the first half.
But the USA could not get a second goal, and the game went to penalty kicks after 90 minutes. In the shootout, goalie Emily Alvarado, also of Texas Rush, stopped shots by Taylor Racioppi and Zoe Morse to give Mexico the win.
Woodall and Alvarado were two of five Mexican-American starters on the Tri feminil, coached by Leo Cuellar, the former Mexican national team captain who has run the Mexican women's program since 1998.
Janae Gonzalez of the Cal Blues assisted on Woodall's goal, while Vanessa Flores(AHFC) andEva Gonzalez (Dallas Texans) also started in midfield.
Thursday's win is the biggest upset in the USA-Mexico women's series along with Mexico's win over the USA in qualifying for the 2011 Women's World Cup. In that case, the USA was pushed into a series of playoffs from which it qualified for Germany 2011, where it lost to Japan in the final after a dramatic run that generated huge interest for the women's game.
This time, there is no second chance for the U.S. U-17s. Sunday's third-place game will count for nothing more than a small consolation prize, leaving them as the only U.S. team to not qualify for a FIFA women's tournament.
The USA's elimination followed the appointment of the first full-time U-17 coach. B.J. Snow left his head coaching job at powerhouse UCLA to take the U-17 post.
Nov. 7 in Montego Bay
USA 1 Mexico 1. Goals: Haley 27; Woodall 5.
USA -- Rood; Jean, Morse, Jacobs, McGrady; Canales, Bailey (Racioppi, 65), Redei; A.Rodriguez (Gyau, 83), Haley (Hedge, 75), Pugh.
Mexico --Alvarado; M.Garcia, Flores, Bernal, M.Rodriguez; E.Gonzalez, Woodall, Cruz, J.Gonzalez (Martinez, 72); Cuevas (Tovar, 46), Huerta (Hernandez, 80).
(Mexico wins 4-2 on penalty kicks.)