USA-Mexico, another Dos a Uno thriller turns out better

The USA rallied from a goal down in the last 10 minutes to beat Mexico, 2-1 in Friday's quarterfinals at the Under-20 Women's World Cup. Ashley Sanchez, the youngest player on the U.S. team, set up substitutes Ally Watt and Kelcie Hedge for goals and rescued the USA, which had been outshot, 15-4.

Under-20 Women's World Cup:

Nov. 24
North Korea 3 Spain 2
Japan 3 Brazil 1     
Nov. 25
USA 2 Mexico 1
Germany-France (Game 28)

Idahoan Maria Sanchez, who represented Mexico at the 2015 Women's World Cup and played two seasons at Idaho State, put Mexico ahead in the 66th minute on a free kick that went through the hands of keeper Casey Murphy.

The USA responded in the 80th minute when Sanchez fed Watt breaking in from the left side for the equalizer on the USA's first shot on target of the game.

Sanchez's work on the right wing was the difference on Hedge's winner late in stoppage time as she beat her defender and played the ball across the middle to an open Hedge (thanks in no small part to Mallory Pugh's dummy).

"They did exactly what we asked them to do," U.S. coach Michelle French said of the two substitutes who scored. "We call our substitutes game-changers because that's the expectations we have for them when they come in. We started Sabrina Flores who hasn't played a minute [to that point in the tournament] and Ally Watt comes in and again changes the game by getting the goal. Keclie Hedge, again someone who hasn't played at all, comes in and finds a way to get that ball in the back of the net. I couldn't be more proud of them."

The game featured a battle of twins -- Sabrina Flores for the USA and Monica Flores starting for Mexico. Both attend Notre Dame and Sabrina consoled her heartbroken sister after the game.

Monica Flores and Maria Sanchez were among seven U.S. products who started for Mexico. The others: Esthefanny Barreras (Eastern Florida State College), Vanessa Flores (West Virginia), Kiana Palacios (UC Irvine), Eva Gonzalez (Seton Hall) and Jacqueline Crowther (Baylor).

The USA and Mexico had met twice in Under-20 Women's World Cup qualifying. They tied 2-2 in group play and the USA won 1-0 on Ashley Sanchez's goal in the final.

"Mexico was everything we thought they would be and more," added French. "I said after the last game that our best soccer was in front of us, but today it wasn't about the soccer, it was about the heart and determination and the USA mentality that we've seen over the years. The resolve this group of players played with, the belief that the players 1 through 21 had that we would come back and get a result was amazing. Looking in their eyes during the water break [at 75 minutes], they 100 percent felt they could come back in the game, and that's something that's been built into our culture. What a crazy, crazy game and a really fun way to make the semifinal."

The USA moves on to Tuesday's semifinals against North Korea, winner of all four of its games by a margin of 11 goals.

Nov. 25 in Port Moresby
USA 2 Mexico 1.
Goals: Watt 80, Hedge 90+2; M.Sanchez 66.
USA -- Murphy; Elliston, Otto, Riehl, Jean; Fox, Ogle, S.Flores (Watt, 73); Pugh, A.Sanchez, Scarpa (Hedge, 68)
Mexico -- Barreras; V.Flores, Bernal, Flores, Antonio, Palacios, E.Gonzalez, M.Sanchez, Solis (L.Rodriguez, 59); Crowther, Cruz.
Att.: 4,245.

9 comments about "USA-Mexico, another Dos a Uno thriller turns out better".
  1. R2 Dad, November 25, 2016 at 12:07 p.m.

    Not sure why the US is playing a flat back 4, with essentially 4 center backs. No modern team plays like that, nor does the USWNT--you see it in rec, mostly. The reason why you have a national "style" is to relieve coaches of their inherent tendencies to screw things up, prevent development and play to win. The purpose of the U teams is to stock the mens/womens team with home grown players. Go re-watch the match and see for yourself. It's shameful, really.

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, November 25, 2016 at 1:08 p.m.

    I guess you are complaining about the spacing between the backs being relatively close compared to what you are used to seeing. That distance should vary with the opponent's ability to send long diagonal passes to the weak side. I don't recall Mexico beating the back four with long diagonal passes. The weakness I saw with the back four was that their play while in possession was not as good as their defending.

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, November 25, 2016 at 1:36 p.m.

    Do you recall the first USA goal? That run and through pass was only possible because of the gap between Mexico's FB and CB. Closer spacing shuts down the passing lane.

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, November 25, 2016 at 5:48 p.m.

    Jake, I am not making excuses for anyone. I am telling you and other people when I disagree with their opinions and sometimes explain why. (Like when I explained the pros and cons of spacing between the backs.) Sometimes I will also tell people that I agree with them. But the ability to really discuss most of the issues we talk about is very limited on an internet forum. Most of what we talk about are too complex to do justice in a few sentences.

  5. Bob Ashpole, November 25, 2016 at 1:28 p.m.

    I missed most of the first half. I thought the game was well coached and generally well played by both teams. I also think the coach's positive approach is exactly what is needed. What disturbed me was that the US attack was often blunted by poor individual tactical decisions both on the ball and off the ball. Some of the poor decisions on the ball might not have happened had the off the ball play been better. (I find this disturbing because it might indicate a weakness in fundamentals.) The 2 US goals were the product of good tactical decisions. Mexico's goal came from a perfectly struck free kick. If the US keeper made a mistake, it was in the placement of the wall, but, due to the camera angles, I couldn't tell.

  6. R2 Dad, November 25, 2016 at 6:27 p.m.

    Michelle French said " it wasn't about the soccer, it was about the heart and determination and the USA mentality that we've seen over the years." This is what coaches say when their teams are technically & tactically insufficient.
    The US will have their hands full with North Korea, who had a +10 GD through the group stage. Over the course of the next two matches, our opponents will seek to expose our back line and shut down our one-dimensional attack. In this group of 4 (USA, France, Japan, N. Korea), we could very well be 4th best. Yes, determination and mentality are important characteristics for a winning team, but that alone will not overcome top teams once you get to the semis.

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, November 25, 2016 at 10:07 p.m.

    True, but coaches also say it when teams come from behind to win. The USA defensively has been pretty good. As well as Mexico played they didn't score against the USA in the run of play. While the USA set plays were disappointing, the other side of that coin is the USA is scoring during the run of play. The French goal came from an over-hit service into the box, not an intentional shot. That is not something that leads you to change your tactics. So over all I don't think the situation is as drastic as the goal differential might indicate. My concern was with tactical decision making on and off the ball. Not technical. I know there was a lot of incompleted passes against Mexico, but I don't think technique was a problem.

  8. Bob Ashpole replied, November 25, 2016 at 11:53 p.m.

    Augh. Not the French goal, Ghana's.

  9. William Thomas replied, November 26, 2016 at 8:02 a.m.

    R2 Dad, you are right on about heart and determination comments from the French. Snow said the same about the U-17. We know the girls have heart and determination, which carries you for a while but without a higher level of individual technique and smart team tactics the US will slowly slip into the bottom tier. Every time I watch Japan's U-17 and U-20 play I feel depressed that we just can't get it.

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications