Two spots in the 2022 FIFA Women’s Under-20 World Cup in Costa Rica were expected to be at stake on Thursday in the semifinals of the 2022 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship in the Dominican Republic.
CONCACAF said both matches were expected to take place at the Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez in Santo Domingo, beginning with reigning champions the United States taking on Puerto Rico.
“The US has shown all of the same characteristics that carried them to the title two years ago, with 40 goals scored and none conceded following a 6-0 victory over Haiti in the quarterfinals,” CONCACAF said.
It said the US has no shortage of scoring options, with three of the tournament’s top scorers in Andrea Kitahata (7 goals), Avery Patterson (6 goals) and Michelle Cooper (5 goals).
“That trio will aim for another strong outing on Thursday with the hope of punching their World Cup ticket, but in front is a Puerto Rico side that will be undeterred by the task of knocking off the defending champions,” CONCACAF said.
“Since their 7-0 loss to the US in the group stage, the Boricuas have posted three straight wins and have outscored opponents 11-0,” it said.
CONCACAF said Brooke Hart is “a scoring threat with five goals thus far in the tournament, while Estefania Gonzalez Cintron showed that she can find the back of the net from distance, evidenced by the two long-range free kicks she scored in the 3-0 quarterfinal win versus Guatemala.”
The other World Cup spot up for grabs will be decided between Canada and Mexico in what should be another tight affair, CONCACAF said.
It said Canada is yet to concede in the tournament and has 30 goals to its name after edging Panama 1-0 in the quarterfinals.
CONCACAF said Olivia Smith is the joint-top scorer in the tournament with seven goals, while Holly Ward has also chipped in with four scores.
“The Canadians will be matched with a very strong Mexico teams that downed El Salvador 5-1 in the quarterfinals,” it said.
“There is talent and skill in abundance within El Tricolor in the form of Aylin Avilez (6 goals) and Natalia Mauleon (3 goals), the latter scoring one of the best goals in the tournament against the Cuscatlecas in the previous round with a magical touch and finish,” CONCACAF added.
“Maritza Maldonado (5 goals) is another player that can punish a defense, so Canada’s perfect defensive record will assuredly be put to the test in Thursday’s nightcap,” it continued.