After opening with a scoreless tie against France, the USA beat New Zealand, 3-1, to take the Group C lead at the U-20 Women's World Cup in Papua New Guinea.
Ashley Sanchez, Coach Michelle French’s youngest player at age 17, opened the scoring in the third minute when she robbed New Zealand defender Elizabeth Anton inside the penalty area and shot home from eight yards.
Mallory Pugh made it 2-0 in the 8th minute after intercepting a New Zealand pass and firing off a 20-yard shot.
New Zealand pulled within a goal in the 76th minute, but 79th-minute substitute Ally Watt iced the game for the USA in the 82nd minute, receiving a pass from 57th minute sub Jessie Scarpa and storming downfield before stroking the ball past keeper Nadia Olla from 11 yards.
The USA closes out Group C play on Monday (1 a.m. ET, FS1, NBC Universo) against Ghana, which tied France, 2-2, after opening with a 1-0 loss to New Zealand. A tie against Ghana would clinch a quarterfinal spot for the USA while a win would guarantee a first-place Group C finish. The Group C second-place finisher is likely to face Germany while the Group C winner is likely to meet Mexico or South Korea.
• Sanchez became the first U.S. player to score in a U-17 and U-20 World Cup in the
same year. Kristie Mewis is the only other U.S. player to score in both a U-17 and U-20 World Cup, but did so two years apart (2008/2010).
• The USA outshot New Zealand 13-5, had a 12-2 corner-kick advantage and had 64 percent of the possession.
Nov. 17 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
USA 3 New Zealand 1. Goals: Sanchez 3, Pugh 8, Watt (Scarpa) 82; Coombes 76.
USA -- Murphy; Elliston, Otto, Riehl, Jean; Fox (Watt, 79), Ogle, Cousins, DeMelo (Scarpa, 57), Pugh (Jacobs, 90); Sanchez.
New Zealand -- Olla; Morton, Stewart-Hobbs, Anton, 6- Moore; Coombes, Cleverley, Jale (Christensen, 69); Pereira, Puketapu (Rolston, 80), Satchell (Hand, 87) Referee: Therese Neguel (Cameroon).
Pts Team W-L-T GD
4 USA 1-0-1 +2
3 New Zealand 1-0-1 -1
2 France 0-0-1 0
1 Ghana 0-1-1 -1
Scoreboard: U-20 Women's World Cup
FC Dallas signs 15-year-old Jesus Ferreira
FC Dallas has signed 15-year-old Jesus Ferreira, who joined FC Dallas’ youth program at age 8 when he father, Colombian David Ferreira signed with the MLS club in 2009. He is FC Dallas' 16th Homegrown signing.
Jesus Ferreira, who was part of a U.S. U-17 national team camp earlier this month, scored 26 goals in the 2015-16 Development Academy season as FC Dallas lifted the U-15/16 national title. He scored 48 times in 50 starts in Development Academy play since 2013.
David Ferreira was MLS MVP in 2010.
CURRENT FC DALLAS HOMEGROWN
Player (current age) MLS games played
Victor Ulloa (24) 102
Kellyn Acosta (21) 87
Moises Hernandez (24) 33
Jesse Gonzalez (21) 21
Coy Craft (19) 5
Aaron Guillen (23) 2
Paxton Pomykal (16) 0
Jesus Ferreira (15) 0