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U.S., Mexico Secure World Cup Slots

May 12, 2002

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) _ Using strong first halves, both Mexico and the United States won comfortably Saturday over Trinidad and Tobago and Costa Rica respectively.

By virtue of having topped their respective groups, they have automatically qualified for the finals of the first FIFA Women’s Under-19 Soccer World Cup in Edmonton, Canada in August.

Playing in the final match of Group `A’ Mexico opened up a 4-0 lead within half an hour of the kickoff and were never in trouble after that. They started the ball rolling as early as the fourth minute when Micheli Rico netted the opener. The Mexicans then doubled that lead in the 12th minute through Dioselina Valderrama, and tacked on additional goals in the 18th and 26th minutes through Teresa Guadelupe Worbis and Sulim Nereida Quinarez.

By that the time the match was effectively over, although center midfielder Tasha St. Louis netted on a long-range effort in the 38th minute to reduce the deficit for the home side before the break.

But the Mexicans were just as purposeful in the second period and scored ten minutes into the second period when a scrambled goal was credited to Valderram, upping the scoreline to 5-1, which was the final score, and Mexico had safe passage through to the Finals as Group `A’ winners. The result meant heartbreak for the home side yet again, and as happened time and again for local teams, they came up short at the final hurdle when it mattered the most. Both teams were unbeaten entering the match.

In an earlier match played at the Larry Gomes Stadium in east Trinidad, Jamaica and Panama battled to a 1-1 tie. Tricia Arosemena opened the scoring for Panama in the 27th minute, but Kim Dunn canceled that out four minutes after the half time break.

Over in Group `B’ played at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago, Haiti scored its first goals of the championships and came away 2-1 winners over Suriname. Lovelie Sanon gave them a tenth-minute lead, but Surinamese captain Elenoor Wisch knotted up the scores after 16 minutes. But a 71st minute strike by Paola Jean gave Haiti the points and third place in the group. Suriname were condemned to fourth and last.

In the feature match between the unbeatens, pre-tournament favorites the United States ran up the score on their Central American opponents with a 14-1 scoreline.

Like in their earlier 15-0 drubbing of Suriname on the opening day on Tuesday, the Americans shook off the effects of pouring rain to open up an 8-0 half time lead, and never looked back as their place in the August Finals was secured.

Jill Oakes opened the scoring in the sixth minute, as the floodgates opened. The prolific Kelly Wilson scored twice in three minutes, as she netted in the 22nd and 24th minutes, while Heather O’Riley made it 5-0 on the half hour. Skipper Lindsay Tarpley also netted twice in the 36th and 45th minutes, but was split by a goal from Leslie Osborne in the 41st. Anne Schefter also found the net in injury time, as the clock ran out on the first half with the U.S. comfortably on top at 8-0.

They tacked on another six in the second half, with Wilson adding another double to finish with nine goals in the tournament, and four in this match. She scored again in the 59th and 79th minutes, while there were additional goals coming from Megan Kakadelas in the 60th, Kendall Fletcher in the 68th, Osborner netted her second on 75-minutes, while Alison Graham rounded off the American scoring in the 90th minute to make the figure 14 for the U.S.

However, the Costa Ricans did have the consolation of being the only team to score on the Americans when Megan Chavez netted in the 56th minute to make it 8-1 at the time. But that hardly phased the Americans, as they then tacked on another six goals for a 14-1 final score.

The Americans topped the group and joined Mexico as the two qualifiers from the CONCACAF region to advance to the FIFA Finals in Canada. As hosts the Canadians automatically qualify.

Jill Oakes of the United States was voted as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player from the group. Costa Rica’s Silvia Arias was named as the Best Goalkeeper, while another American star Kelly Wilson won the golden boot award as the top scorer with nine goals. Costa Rica won the Fair Play Award.

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