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U.S. under-20 women

Americans qualify for worlds by beating Mexico 3-0 behind Bock pair.

VERACRUZ, Mexico (January 25, 2006) -- Midfielder Brittany Bock scored in each half, sandwiched around a goal by striker Amy Rodriguez, lifting the United States to a 3-0 victory over Mexico this afternoon in the CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Final Round Qualifying Tournament semifinals and to a berth in this summer's world championships.

Canada also qualified for the third under-20 world tournament August 16-September 2 in Russia by defeating Jamaica 2-1 in today's other semifinal. Canada and the U.S. will meet Friday at 4 p.m. (ET) to decide the somewhat anticlimactic title of CONCACAF, the region of North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

"I am very pleased and excited about our team going to Russia." U.S. coach Tim Schulz said. "Knowing the American athlete and knowing our girls, they want to get first place. I am very excited about going to Russia, it's a big load off everyone's shoulders, but I am excited about playing Canada and I think the team is, too."

The winner of Friday's third-place match between Mexico and Jamaica will also earn a spot in the world championships.

"I think we will try to go to our bench a little bit more," Schulz said of the final against Canada. "I am happy that a few players got to rest tonight. Truly, I don't know what my top 11 are yet, so some of the girls who were on the bench today will get some playing time, maybe start. We are experimenting with two formations in the 4-4-2 and the 4-3-3, so maybe we even introduce a third formation."

Rodriguez was carrying to goal in the 22nd minute, escaping the clutch of a defender only to be chopped down 22 yards from goal. Bock used the outside of her right foot to drill the subsequent free kick into the left side of the net for a 1-0 lead.

"I work on free kicks a lot, trying to bend the ball with the outside of my foot," Bock said. "When the wall was lined up, I told Kasey (Moore) to shoot it upper 90, but when the goalkeeper got set, she was way right, so I told Kasey, 'Dude, I'm taking it.' And she said 'OK.' When I saw it going, I knew it was in. The goalie didn't look like she was going to get to it. It's nice to do something in a game that you work on so hard in practice."

Three minutes before halftime, U.S. forward Lauren Cheney took off on a solo run, beating several defenders on the dribble to make it into the left side of the penalty area, Her chip beat goalkeeper Anjuli Ladron de Guevara, but hit the bottom of the crossbar. The ball bounced in front of the goal and was cleared by the defense.

Schulz sent in reserves Amanda Poach and Kelley O'Hara at halftime, moving from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 formation with the 17-year-old O'Hara joining Rodriguez and Cheney up top. The youngster made an immediate impact, getting around the right side of the defense on numerous occasions to send in dangerous crosses.

"We were playing well in the first half, but then we went to a three-front to try to put pressure on their backs and create more scoring opportunities," O'Hara said. "Playing on the outside, my job is to find ways behind the defense, and through some good midfield play, I was able to get into the box and hit a few crosses."

In the 59th minute, Rodriguez made it 2-0 with her third goal of the tournament.

U.S. defender Kasey Moore slid to win a ball just over the center stripe, rolling it straight to Allie Long, who turned in a strong effort in the center of midfield. Long turned toward goal and threaded a pass to Rodriguez at top of the box. Rodriguez held off a defender and let the ball run across her body as she powered into the box before unleashing a shot from 16 yards. De Guevara managed to get a hand on the shot, but the ball bounced off her and across the goal-line.

Two minutes later, Rodriguez nearly scored again after O'Hara made it to the end line and cut back a short cross. Rodriguez, who missed Monday's 5-0 triumph over El Salvador in the Group B finale because of a red card in Saturday's 4-0 decision over Surinam, shot just wide of the left post from six yards.

In the 71st minute, U.S. defender Jordan Angeli was fouled from behind near the left sideline. Moore drive a cross to the far post where Bock sent a diving header into the left side netting for a 3-0 advantage.

"I kind of pulled Amy (Rodriguez) at my defender and got free at the far post, but I didn't see the ball until it was right there, coming over the defense," Bock said. "I saw it and just threw my body. I was on the ground and I looked up and saw it in the net. That was tight."

One minute later, Angeli skipped a free kick off the top of the crossbar from 19 yards out.

U.S. goalkeeper Kelsey Davis made three saves to earn the shutout, the toughest of which came in the 74th minute when she had to dive to her left to snare a shot from Mexico reserve forward Norma Mendez.

The U.S. had most of the possession in the match and created quality chances throughout. In the second minute, midfielder Danesha Adams put her head to a cross, forcing de Guevara to push the ball off the crossbar before grabbing it.

Angeli powered a 25-yard drive right into the hands of Guevara in the 11th minute. Seven minutes later, flank midfielder Tina DiMartino slipped behind the Mexican defense into the right side of the penalty area, but spun her left-footer straight at de Guevara who had come out to cut down the angle.

Most of the danger created by Mexico came from U.S. turnovers in the midfield and a few quick counterattacks that were well defended by the U.S. back line.

In the first half, attacker Rebecca Mendoza received a cross and headed a bouncing ball just past right post from close range. Midfielder Christine Nieva chipped a 20-yard free kick onto the top of net.

The majority of the attacking, however, was done by the Americans who outshot Mexico 18-7, 12-3 on frame.

"We just keep growing as a team," U.S. defender and captain Nikki Krzysik said. "This was our best performance of the tournament so far. I think our intensity was off the charts, we just wanted this game badly. Everyone that played today, played well, and I think a major part of that is that everyone has gotten to play quality minutes in this tournament. We've all gotten rest and I think that helped us dominate the game. Anyone seems to be able to step into a position and keep our team whole. There is never a missing piece."

The U.S. secured a berth in the 2004 world championships, then an under-19 event, by beating Mexio 6-0 in the CONCACAF semifinals.

"Playing Mexico (for a berth), we were a bit nervous," Schulz said. "Three years ago, playing Mexico wasn't much of a concern in the women's game, but now they are clearly a world contender.

"They are very clever on the ball and they are very crafty, but I think the United States was a bit deeper. We went to our bench in the first three games, so we were a little fresher. I think Mexico had a few unfortunate injuries and maybe ran out of energy a little, but overall there was some very good play from Mexico. It's very nice to see that the women's game is getting stronger world-wide and Mexico is leading the way."

Canada earned its berth in Russia on Lisa Collison's goal in the second half.

Selenia Iacchelli put Canada ahead 1-0 just before halftime, but Jamaica's Kimmia Parker tied matters 1-1 with a free-kick blast from 40 yards.

Canada goalkeeper Erin McNulty preserved the 2-1 victory with a point-blank save with a minute remaining.


United States 3, Mexico 0

Lineups: United States - Kelsey Davis, Stephanie Logterman, Kasey Moore, Nikki Kryzsik (captina), Jordan Angeli, Tina DiMartino (Kelley O'Hara 46), Allie Long, Brittany Bock, Danesha Adams (Amanda Poach), Lauren Cheney (Jessica Rostedt 75), 12-Amy Rodriguez. Mexico - Anjuli Ladron de Guevara, Marisol Arevalo, Nancy Gutierrez, Leticia Villalpando, Isabel Valdez, Rebecca Juarez (Verónica Charlyn Corral 57), Maria De Lourdes Gordillo (captain), Christine Yvette Nieva, Rebecca Mendoza, Tania Paola Morales (Norma Mendez 32), Nancy Gandarilla (Monique Cisneros 76).

Scoring:
United States - Bock (unassisted) 22.
United States - Rodriguez (Long) 59.
United States - Bock (Moore) 71.

Shots: United States 18, Mexico 7. Shots on goal: United States 12, Mexico 3. Saves: United States 3, Mexico 7. Corner kicks: United States 7, Mexico 2. Fouls: United States 17, Mexico 10. Offside: United States 5, Mexico 0 Yellow card cautions: United States - Krzysik 35, O'Hara 61; Mexico - Villalpando 71.

Referee: Walter Quesada (Costa Rica). Assistant referees: Elizabeth Aguirre (Nicaragua), Cindy Mohammed (Trinidad & Tobago). Fourth official: Dianne Ferreira-James (Guyana). Attendance: 3,141 at Luis Pirata Fuentes Stadium in Veracruz, Mexico. Weather: Overcast, light rain, muggy, 73 degrees.

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