February 11, 2024, | Courtesy of www.ussoccer.com
MIDFIELDER KENNEDY FULLER WINS GOLDEN BOOT AS TOURNAMENT’S TOP SCORER; USA WINS FOURTH CONSECUTIVE CONCACAF U-17 TITLE AND SIXTH OVERALL
TOLUCA, Mexico (Feb. 11, 2024) – The U.S. Under-17 Women’s Youth National Team topped hosts Mexico 4-0 to win the 2024 Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship, capping off perhaps the most dominating performance from a U.S. team in Concacaf U-17 qualifying since the tournament began in 2008. The Americans outscored the opposition 32-2 during the title run to claim the USA’s sixth U-17 Concacaf title and fourth in a row.
Midfielder Kennedy Fuller won the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer with eight goals, scoring five goals in the USA’s opening group stage match again Panama, one goal in group stage finale against Canada and a brace in the semifinal victory over Haiti. She also created an own goal from Mexico today. Haiti striker Lourdjina Etienne also scored eight goals, but Fuller scored hers in fewer minutes, which was the tiebreaker. Fuller is the first American to win the Golden Boot at the Concacaf U-17 Championship since Ashley Sanchez did so in 2016.
The USA also won the Fair Play Award while Etienne was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player in the tournament and Mexico goalkeeper Camila Vazquez won the Golden Glove.
Fuller’s strong individual effort complemented a full team performance from the young Americans, who not only claimed the program’s sixth title in eight appearances at the Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship, but also secured their spot in the 2024 FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup with a 7-1 victory over Haiti in the semifinal.
Midfielder Kimmi Ascanio and forwards Mya Townes and Alex Pfeiffer all scored in the final and the Americans also forced Mexico into an own goal on the way do a dominating victory in front of a raucous and loud home crowd at the Mexican National Team Training Center. The U.S. shot Mexico 16-10 on the afternoon while holding a 5-3 advantage in shots on target. While the U.S quartet of goals served to quiet the crowd a bit, the fans were behind their team until the end, chanting and singing and creating an atmosphere worthy of a championship game.
With a World Cup berth in hand, the U.S. got off to another fast start in Toluca, nearly scoring seconds after the opening whistle when defender Katie Scott drove her shot from distance just over the bar only 13 seconds into the match.
The high pressure from the U.S. created several dangerous opportunities in the opening minutes and the USA capitalized off a corner kick as Townes buried a bouncing ball in the box for her fifth goal of the tournament.
The U.S. doubled its lead in the 23rd minute with a beautiful team goal. Fuller showed off her playmaking abilities, finding forward Carrie Helfrich on a run behind the Mexico defense. As the goalkeeper came out to challenge, Helfrich unselfishly passed the ball off to Ascanio on her left. Coming off a hat trick against Haiti and the youngest player on this roster, Ascanio finished from close range for her fourth goal of the tournament.
The Americans added their third of the half in 28th minute as a dangerous service from Fuller and a committed run from Townes forced Mexican defender Adrianna Gonzalez to put the ball in the back of her own net.
Leading 3-0 at the half, U.S. head coach Katie Schoepfer, who also coached the USA to the title at the 2022 Concacaf Girls Under-15 Championship and was an assistant coach on the U.S. U-20 WYNT that won the Concacaf title in 2020, made the first of five substitutions as Pfeiffer came on for Leena Powell at the break. In sign of the USA’s depth and quality, the two professional players on this U.S. roster - Pfeiffer and Melanie Barcenas - did not start the match. Barcenas came on in the 61st minute for Townes.
The influx of fresh legs quickly paid dividends as the U.S. tallied its fourth and final goal to put the game to rest when Pfeiffer capitalized on a poor clearance from Vazquez to net her sixth goal of the tournament. Moments later, Barcenas nearly made it five but her strike from the top of the area powered off the crossbar and out of play.
As it did all tournament, the U.S. defense was disciplined and organized throughout the afternoon and held Mexico to few quality chances on the afternoon.
The hosts did however keep battling until the final whistle and forced U.S. goalkeeper Molly Vapensky to come off her line well in the 81st minute to punch away a dangerous service. Mexico created more danger in the box in the 85thminute, but center back Kiara Gillmore – who was celebrating her 17th birthday -- did well to shield off the Mexican attacker and earned a foul to thwart the momentum and keep the USA’s third clean sheet of the competition.
The USA will now focus on preparations for the 2024 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup that will be held from October 16 to November 3 in the Dominican Republic.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
USA – Mya Townes, 11th minute: Leena Powell did well to earn a corner kick for the Americans and the USA capitalized on the ensuing set piece. Kimmi Ascanio drove in a low and skipping service which careened around the box – Carrie Helfrich had a crack that bounced off a defender -- before finding its way to Townes, who one-timed her right-footed attempt into the left side of the net through traffic. USA 1, MEX 0
USA – Kimmi Ascanio (Carrie Helfrich), 23rd minute: After a patient build out of the back, Kennedy Fuller sparked the USA’s second goal of the game by picking out Helfrich with a deftly-slipped ball behind Mexico’s defense. Helfrich continued her run at speed down the center of the pitch before unselfishly laying the ball off to Ascanio making a hard run in from the left wing. Ascanio slid to net her fourth goal of the tournament with a left-footed finish from close range. USA 2, MEX 0
USA – Own Goal (Adrianna Gonzalez), 25th minute: Kennedy Fuller continued to show off her pace, power and creativity in the attack, dancing through the penalty area and getting endline to drive the ball back across the face of goal. The sliding Townes was unable to get on the end of the ball, but her commitment to the run forced Gonzalez to smash the ball into her own net. USA 3, MEX 0
USA – Alex Pfeiffer, 62nd minute: Mexico goalkeeper Camila Vazquez came off her line to clear a bouncing ball over the top but, under pressure from an onrushing Alex Pfeiffer, put her clearance off her own defender. The ball bounced back over her head and into the path of Pfeiffer, who put away the empty-netter for her sixth goal of the tournament. USA 4, MEX 0
The U.S. improves to 6W-0L-1D all-time against Mexico at the Concacaf U-17 Championship and has won all four meetings between the teams in the final, which have occurred in the last four tournament finals.
Twelve different players scored for the USA at the 2024 Concacaf Women’sU-17 Championship: Kennedy Fuller (8), Alex Pfeiffer (6), Mya Townes (5), Kimmi Ascanio (4), Melanie Barcenas, Jordyn Hardeman, Carrie Helfrich, Rylee McLanahan, Y-Lan Nguyen, Leena Powell, Katie Scott and Jocelyn Travers. Two of those goals came from the penalty spot and the USA also forced one own goal. All of those players except for Pfeiffer have scored their firstU-17international goals at this tournament.
Midfielder Kennedy Fuller won the Golden Boot as the top scorer in the tournament. Fuller scored nine goals at the 2022 Concacaf Girls’ U-15 Championship at which she won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s top player.
Helfrich led the USA – and the tournament -- with four assists. Pfeiffer was second with three assists.
The USA had by far the most goals (32), assists (20) and shots (128) in the tournament.
All 21 players on the roster saw action during the tournament.
The USA has compiled a 40W-0L-2D all-time record at this tournament and has outscored its opponents 249-12.
Eleven of the players on this U-17 roster played for head coach Schoepfer on the team that won the 2022 Concacaf U-15 Girls’ Championship that was played in Tampa, Fla. Those players are goalkeepers Molly Vapensky and Kennedy Zorn, defenders Lexi Coughlin, Jordyn Hardeman, Daya King and Katie Scott, midfielders Kimmi Ascanio, Kennedy Fuller and Ainsley McCammon and forwards Carrie Helfrich and Alex Pfeiffer.
-U.S. UNDER-17 WOMEN’S YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Under-17 Women’s Youth National Team vs. MexicoDate:
Feb. 11, 2024Competition: Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship -
FinalVenue: Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación, A.C. – Field 1; Toluca,
Lineups: USA: 1-Molly Vapensky; 13-Katie Scott (2-Jordyn Hardeman, 77), 5-Kiara Gilmore, 4-Trinity Armstrong, 15-Daya King; 6-Ainsley McCammon (Capt.), 10-Kennedy Fuller, 7-Kimmi Ascanio (8-Riley Cross, 83); 14-Leena Powell (17-Alex Pfeiffer, 46), 20-Mya Townes (11-Melanie Barcenas, 61), 9-Carrie Helfrich (16-Jocelyn Travers, 77)Substitutes not used: 3-Lexi Coughlin, 12-Franky Dunlap, 18-Rylee McLanahan, 19-Y-Lan Nguyen, 21-Kennedy Zorn Head Coach: Katie Schoepfer
MEX: 1-Camila Vazquez; 4-Maria De Leon (Capt.), 3-Natalia Munoz (14-Isabella Calderon, 67), 15-Daniela Gallegos; 2-Adrianna Gonzalez (16-Celeste Martinez, 77), 10-Abril Fragoso, 6-Carla Montes (18-Vanessa Aguilar, 87), 8-Alexa Soto (19-Yessenia Guzman, 87), 5-Mia Villapando; 7-Aniya Williams, 11-Dana Sandoval (17-Dafne Sanchez, 88)Substitutes not used: 9-Noamy Vazquez, 12-Valentina Murrieta, 13-Beranice Ibarra, 20-Citalli Reyes, 21-Adriana MezaHead coach: Jimena Rojas
Stats Summary: USA / MEXShots: 16 / 10Shots on Goal: 5 / 3Saves: 3 / 2Corner Kicks: 4 / 3Fouls: 11 / 11Offside: 4 / 1
Misconduct Summary:MEX – Adrianna Gonzalez (Caution) 6th minuteUSA – Katie Scott (Caution) 53USA – Alex Pfeiffer (Caution) 62MEX – Isabella Calderon (Caution) 90
Officials:Referee: Vimarest Diaz (Venezuela) 1st Assistant Referee: Abigail McKenzie (Barbados) 2nd Assistant Referee: Melissa Nicholas (Trinidad & Tobago) 4th Official: Suleimy Linares (Cuba)