U.S. U-20 women stumble in World Cup qualifying opener

The USA, up 2-0 after 22 minutes, settled for a 2-2 tie with Mexico in its first game of qualifying play for the 2016 U-20 World Cup. The tie on Friday in Honduras ended the USA’s six-game win streak over Mexico in U-20 Concacaf Championship play.

The USA’s 17-year-old captain Mallory Pugh put the USA ahead in the 20th minute from the penalty spot after a Mexico handball. Two minutes later, Pugh’s back-heel relay of Ashley Sanchez's pass into the penalty area set up Emily Fox's 16-yard shot for the USA’s second goal.

Mexico pulled within one at the 32nd minute mark with a Bianca Solis shot following a free kick into the penalty area. Another Mexico free kick set up Kiana Palacios’ 12-yard header for the equalizer in the 65th minute.

The Michelle French-coached U.S. team returns to action on Sunday against Panama, which fell, 3-2, to Haiti in its Group B opener.

Dec. 4 in San Pedro Sula
USA 2 Mexico 2.
Goals: Pugh (pen.) 20, Fox (Pugh) 22; Solis (Alvarez) 32; Palacios (Flores) 65.
USA -- Chandler; Jacobs, Flores, Davidson, Fox; Harvey (Harr, 46), Demelo, Canales (Stevens, 73), Roberts; 10- Pugh, Sanchez (Scarpa, 46).
Mexico -- Alvarado; V.Flores, Bernal, M.Flores, Rodriguez, Vazquez, Alvarez (Cruz, 73), Palacios, Sanchez (Crowther, 86), Mejia, Solis.
Referee: Marianela Araya (Costa Rica)

2015 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship USA games
Dec. 4 USA 2 Mexico 2
Dec. 6 USA-Panama 8:30 pm ET (FOX Soccer Plus)
Dec. 8 USA-Haiti 8:30 pm ET (FOX Soccer Plus)
Both semifinals (Dec. 11 at 6 and 9 p.m. ET), the third-place game (Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. ET) and the final (Dec. 13 at 9 p.m. ET) will air on FOX Sports 2.
The semifinal winners and the third-place game winner earn berths to the 2016 U-20 Women's World Cup in Papua New Guinea.

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