Jan. 29, 2010
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala - Stanford teammates Teresa Noyola, Rachel Quon and Alina Garciamendez are through to the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup after helping their countries earn close victories Thursday in qualifying play.
A second-half assist by Quon followed by a superb goal from Noyola enabled the United States to beat Costa Rica, 2-1, in the semifinals of the eight-team CONCACAF Championship at the Estadio Cementos Progreso.
Later on the same field, Mexico, with Garciamendez as captain, earned a 1-0 overtime victory over Canada in the other semifinal. The finalists, plus the winner of the third-place match, advance to this summer's World Cup in Germany.
Though assured of a World Cup spot, the U.S. and Mexico will play Saturday at 2:30 p.m. PT (CONCACAF.com; tape delayed on Fox Soccer Channel, Sunday, 2 p.m. PT) for the title of the North American, Central American and Caribbean region.
The U.S.-Costa Rica match was scoreless until the 60th minute when Quon took a free kick from left of the penalty area and sent a right-footed inswinger into the six-yard box where Kristie Mewis, in traffic, struck a glancing header inside the far post.
Noyola put the U.S. in front, 2-0, with a 23-yard free kick from the top of the box that she deftly looped over the defensive wall and inside the left post. It was struck so well that goalkeeper Priscilla Tapia hardly moved. The goal, Noyola's second of the tournament, would be huge because Costa Rica brought one back in the 77th minute, but the U.S. held on.
Mexico took advantage of a Canadian mistake to score in the 104th minute. A Mexican corner kick appeared to be covered by the goalkeeper, but the ball went through her hands and deflected off her face and over the goal line.