USA-Canada: Past Women’s U-20/U-19 Championship Encounters

This Sunday, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern (EDT),  the USA and Canada will meet once again to decide a Women’s U-20/U-19 Championship. The first time was in 2002, at the final of the inaugural FIFA Under-19 Women’s  World Championship. The two sides have also met in the 2004 CONCACAF Women’s Under-19 Championship final as well as the 2006 and 2008 Under-20 editions of that Championship.

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2002 FIFA Under-19 Women’s  World Championship, Canada, 1 September 2002.

The USA cruised through the group stage with three wins, all by at least four goals: 5:1 over England, 4:0 over Australia, and 6:0 over Chinese Taipei (Taiwan). The USA also won easily in the quarterfinals (6:0 versus Denmark) and the semifinals (4:1 over Germany).

Canada’s path to the final was a bit more bumpy: In its first group stage match, Canada came back from a 2:1 deficit to defeat Denmark 3:2. And, for its semifinal versus Brazil, A penalty kick shoot-out was needed to separate the sides. (Canada’s goalkeeper, Erin McCleod, stopped the first Brazil PK, taken by Marta. Yes, that Marta. Canada’s first PK, by Candace Chapman, was also stopped. Brazil’s second PK was a straight miss. Canada would go on to convert the next four shots.)

For the final, Canada’s starting line-up, which played in the very defensive-minded 5-3-2 formation, featured six now-current Can WNT’ers: Erin McCleod, Melanie Booth, Candace Chapman, Carmelina Moscato, Brittany Timko, and Christine Sinclair. Then fifteen years-old Kara Lang, whose playing career was cut short by injuries, also started. For the Americans, their line-up included goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris plus Rachel Buehler, Lori Chalupny, Heather O’Reilly, Leslie Osborne, and Lindsay Tarpley.

The USA was dealt an early blow when Buehler was injured around the 13th minute. Santa Clara’s Jessica Ballweg played the rest of the match in Buehler’s place. Canada’s defensive strategy kept the USA scoreless in the first-half for the only time during the Championship. The second-half was also scoreless, although Christine Sinclair had a great chance in the waning moments, from eight yards out. Luckily for the USA, Sinclair sky’ed the shot over the crossbar.

It took until the 19th minute of extra time for someone to score. And, that someone was American Lindsay Tarpley. From USSoccer.com’s match report:

Substitute Megan Kakadelas, who came on 105th minute, created the winning goal just four minutes later.  The slick dribbling forward received a pass from Leslie Osborne down the left flank and curved in a cross on the ground.  The ball rolled across the goal to the cutting Tarpley, but she had her first shot attempt blocked.  The ball somehow squirted behind the defender as Tarpley went into the tackle and the U.S. captain pounded her shot into the net from close range…

And, that was it, a golden goal to win the first FIFA women’s youth tournament, in front of a stunned Canadian crowd of over 47,000. (See also: FIFA match report.)

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2004 CONCACAF Women’s Under-19 Championship, Canada, 6 June 2004.

As the previous CONCACAF Women’s Under-19 tournament was a group stage only affair, 2004 was the first time that an official Women’s Under-19 Champion would be crowned in CONCACAF. Canada and the United States both had fairly easy paths to the finals, though the USA got off to a rocky start: a scoreless draw with Costa Rica.

Canada had a few players who were veterans of the 2002 FIFA U-19 WWC: Kara Lang, Brittany Timko, and Katie Thorlakson. Meanwhile, the USA had five 2002 veterans: Ashlyn Harris, Rachel Buehler, Angie (Woznuk) Kerr, and Kerri Hanks. All but Hanks saw action in the 2002 final. Other American players included Stephanie (Lopez) Cox, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Yael Averbuch. Also, Megan Rapinoe was an unused substitute that day. The center referee was also the same:  Diane Ferreira-James of Guyana.

The Americans went down a goal early: In the 3rd minute, the USA was unable to clear the ball after a corner kick. Canada’s Aysha Jamani pounced on a pass from Thorlakson. Jamani’s first shot was blocked by Stephanie Logtermann, but the rebound went right back to Jamani whose second effort found the back of the net.

The USA fought back and in the 42nd minute got an equalizer: After receiving a pass from Woznuk, Hanks passed the ball to an open Sherree Gray, but the pass was hit too hard. Gray ran to get onto the ball and took a shot. The ball nutmeg’ed Canada’s goalkeeper, Stacey Van Boxmeer, but rebounded off a goal stick and found Hanks. Hanks’ effort deflected off a defender and went in for a goal.

The next goal would not be scored until the second period of extra time: In the 118th minute, Canada won a free kick in the middle-third, which Kara Lang served to Belanger who headed a ball over Harris and into the left side of the goal mouth.

(USSoccer.com’s match report and CONCACAF’s technical report for the tournament do not specify whether this was a golden goal. The golden goal was abolished by IFAB in February 2004, but that decision was not mandatory until July 1st, although CONCACAF could have implemented the change for this tournament.)

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2006 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship, Mexico, 27 January 2006.

CONCACAF’s first women’s under-20 final was also its most eventful.

Canada was back in the final after finishing top in its group, ahead of Mexico which it defeated 3:2 in the final group match, and defeated Jamaica 2:1, with Lisa Collison scoring the game-winner six minutes after Jamaica got the equalizer in the 65th minute. The USA cruised through its matches without conceding a goal, including a 3:0 win over Mexico in the semifinal.

Once again, for Canada, Kara Lang was back. Returnees from 2004 included Aysha Jamani, Lisa Collison, Jodi-Ann Robinson, Selenia Iachelli, Amanda Cicchini, Veronique Maranda, and back-up ‘keeper Stephanie Labbe. First-timers for Canada include current CanWNT’ers Sophie Schmidt and Desiree Scott. Kaylyn Kyle would have been a likely starter for this match, but she picked up her second yellow card of the tournament in the semifinals.

For the USA, only two 2004 veterans were back: now-captain Nikki Kryzsik and back-up goalkeeper, Kelsey Davis, who would be in goal for the USA during this match. (She and Valerie Henderson shared goalkeeping duties this tournament). Absent from the roster was Stephanie (Lopez) Cox who would be on the 2006 U-20 WWC roster. Newcomers for the USA included current WNT’ers Lauren Cheney, Kelley O’Hara, and Amy Rodriguez, as well as Tina DiMartino, who has 5 senior WNT caps (2008-2009).

This was the first USA-Canada women’s youth final without Dianne Ferriera-James, who was also at this tournament, but she ref’ed the third place match between Mexico and Jamaica. For this match, the center referee was Shane DeSilva of Trinidad and Tobago.

Canada played in a 4-5-1 formation with Kara Lang and Aysha Jamani as the outside midfielders. Jodi-Anne Robinson, who is now a veteran of two Women’s World Cups and an Olympics for Canada (2007, 2011; 2008) was the lone striker. In goal was Erin McNulty who just wrapped up her collegiate career at Penn State inn 2011, after spending three years at Florida State.

The USA got off to an early lead thanks in part to Kelley O’Hara, whose 8th minute shot inside the box was saved by McNulty who could not grab hold of the ball. Amy Rodriguez was there to send home the rebound. The Americans were limited to just five shots in the first half, with only that one goal.

The USA was a dealt a major blow in the 41st minute when defender Carrie Dew recklessly tackled Robinson and was given her second yellow card by Shane DeSilva of Trindad and Tobago, thus ejecting Dew from the match. US Soccer’s match report describes Dew’s first yellow card (31′) as “questionable.”

In the second-half, Canada would equalize against the now ten-women Americans. Aysha Jamani, who got the extra-time goal for Canada in the 2004 final, scored in the 57th minute from the top of the penalty box.

And, then, it got worse. Four minutes later, in the 61st minute, Jamani found Robinson, who had an easy tap-in. Canada now had a 2:1 lead with under 3o minutes to play.

In the 70th minute, Canada had a free kick a yard outside the American penalty box after a handball call, but Collison’s shot was stopped by the USA’s wall.

But then, two minutes later, Lauren Cheney happened (USSoccer.com mach report):

The U.S. forward collected a thread pass with her back to the goal, held it for a count, then turned to roll a pass between two Canadian defenders, freeing [forward Jessica] Rostedt in a footrace. Rostedt barreled towards the goal and slipped her shot into the right corner from 12 yards out, tying the game at two goals a piece.

And ten minutes after that, Cheney happened again:

The game-winner came in the 82nd minute after Beam received a short pass from Rostedt at the top of the penalty area. She eluded a defender then guided a wonderful little slip pass behind the defense to Cheney. The Canadian defense paused for a second, appealing for an offside, while Cheney waltzed in all alone on McNulty. She slotted her shot into the left corner from six yards out, setting off a wild celebration among the U.S. players.

The out-numbered Americans would hold onto their slim lead for the remaining eight minutes plus stoppage time, and finally claim their first confederation championship title.

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2008 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship, Mexico, 28 June 2008.

The American’s journey to the final was fairly smooth, with their 3-0 victory against the hosts, Mexico, in the final group stage match, being their most difficult challenge. In that match, Kelley O’Hara scored in the 8th minute, but that was the only goal for the next 60 minutes, until Michelle Enyeart doubled the USA’s advantage in the 68th minute. Twenty minutes later, Nikki Washington scored the USA’s third goal.

Canada’s road to the championship match was not as easy. They won their first match 2:0, with the second goal only coming in the 89th minute. Canada then defeated Jamaica 3:1 and Costa Rica 4:0 to win their group. In their semifinal, Canada faced Mexico. Canada scored first, in just the 2nd minute, but the hosts equalized in the 66th minute. Eleven minutes later, Jonelle Filigno (a 2008 Olympics and 2011 WWC veteran), scored the game-winning goal.

For the Canadians, veterans returning from the 2006 tournament included Erin McNulty, Kaylyn Kyle, Soshie Schmidt, Jodi-Ann Robinson, Paige Adams, and Rheanne Sleiman. Newcomers for Canada included current CanWNT’ers Chelsea Stewart and Shannon Woeller, who was an used substitute in the final match.

Kelley O’Hara was the only returnee from 2008 for the USA. First-timers for the Americans included Canadian-born and current USWNT’er Sydney Leroux. Other USWNT players include Meghan Klingenberg (2 caps, 2011), Christine Nairn (2 caps, 2009), and Casey Noguiera (5 caps, 2007-2010). Recent USWNT camp attendee Keelin Winters also played in that match. Another recent camp attendee, Ingrid Wells, was an unused substitute that day. Alex Morgan, who had played in the previous four matches was not rostered for the final.

The referee from the 2006 USA-Canada final, Shane DeSilva, was also back, but this time she was on the the sideline as the Fourth Official. The woman with the whistle for this match was Erika Vargas of Costa Rica.

The match was scoreless until first-half stoppage time, when a “defensive breakdown” (Tony DiCicco’s words) led to Canada’s only goal (USSoccer.com match report):

A great individual effort from Canadian forward Karla Schacher put her team up in stoppage time of the first half and would prove to be the game-winner. She received the ball just across midfield and ran full speed at the U.S. defense, making a move and getting into the penalty area before curling a shot around [Alyssa] Naeher and into the far side netting. It was one of just three shots on goals for Canada in the game, with each coming in the first half.

In the second-half, forward Jessica McDonald was subbed-on for Leroux, and defender Nikki Washington moved up to a forward spot as the USA played in a 3-3-4 formation. But, Canada’s defense held the USA scoreless, even in the waning minutes when the USA had three late corner kicks.

After the match, head coach Tony DiCicco commented:

“Today’s game was very frustrating… It was one of those games where one defensive breakdown forced us to kind of chase the game. Our team showed great heart, created a lot of opportunities and fought until the end. Give Canada credit, as they never broke. We will have to learn from this game and move on.”

The USA did learn and move on after that loss, winning the 2008 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile

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2010 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship, Guatemala.

This time, there would be no Canada-USA final, as Canada lost 0:1 to Mexico in the semifinals via an extra-time goal by Veronica Corral (104′). Even worse for Canada, they fell 0:1 to Costa Rica in the Third Place Match. Thus, Costa Rica qualified for its first (and, so far, only) FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup. And, for the first time, Canada did not qualify for a U-20/U-19 WWC.

For more on the 2010 USA-Mexico final, see this USSoccer.com match report.

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Overall, Canada has defeated the USA twice in official confederation women’s U-19/U-20 championships (2004, 2008), while the USA has only won once versus Canada (2006): A 2-1 record in favor of Canada.

If the final match of the 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championship (a USA victory over Canada) is included, then the championship final record for both teams is an even 2-2.

Fun stats:

  • Canada has only won versus the USA after losing in a previous final in the same country (Canada, 2002, loss; Canada, 2004, win. Mexico, 2006, loss, Mexico, 2008, win.)
  • Also, Canada’s goalkeeper in their loss to the USA also started in their victory (Erin McCleod, 2002 & 2004; Erin McNulty, 2006 & 2008).
  • Canada has only won versus the USA in Summer Olympic years (2004, 2008).
  • The USA has only won their CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championships in Winter Olympics years (2006, 2010).

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Note: Concerning players listed as current Canadian WNT players, I am only counting those players who were on Canada’s CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying roster this past January.