(March 13, 2016) - Forward Civana Kuhlmann scored a dramatic game-winner in the 86th minute as the U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team won the 2016 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship with a 2-1 victory against Mexico.
Ashley Sanchez opened the scoring with her fifth goal of the tournament in the 43rd minute and Mexico equalized in the 69th to set the stage for Kuhlmann's heroics.
"It's been an emotional two weeks and it's been a hard-fought two weeks," said U.S. head coach B.J. Snow. "The girls are ecstatic, and I'm proud of them for pushing through some adversity today. Five games in nine days in this heat against this type of competition is tough, and every game we had was very difficult. The girls learned from it and pushed themselves through some things they've never had to deal with before. It was a total team effort."
Sanchez won the Golden Ball as the tournament's top player and Laurel Ivory, who played every minute in goal for the USA, won the Golden Glove as the top goalkeeper in the competition. Ivory, who had little to do for most of the tournament, made a huge save near the end of the game to keep it knotted at 1-1.
Seven U.S. players made the Best XI Team for the tournament: Ivory, Naomi Girma, Kennedy Wesley, Brianna Pinto, Jaelin Howell, Sanchez and Kuhlmann
The USA had already booked its place in the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Jordan with a 5-0 victory against Canada in the semifinal on March 11, but the championship game triumph gives the USA its third U-17 CONCACAF title (2008, 2012, 2016). Mexico earned its berth to the Women's World Cup via a 3-0 semifinal win against Haiti, while Canada booked CONCACAF's final World Cup spot with a 4-2 win against Haiti in the third place match.
The USA had far more dangerous chances on the night, including a shot from Kuhlmann in the first half that smacked off the crossbar at the upper left corner, but Mexico goalkeeper Miriam Aguirre made numerous big-time saves to keep the game close.
Sophia Smith entered the game in the 79th minute and set up the winning goal with an excellent cross from the right wing that Kuhlmann met with a powerful slide to seal the victory, although Mexico's Jacqueline Ovalle, who scored Mexico's earlier equalizer, hit the outside of the right post in the dying seconds of the match.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA - Ashley Sanchez, 43rd minute: A ball was played over the top by the USA and bounced in the penalty area. Alessandra Ramirez headed it up in the air and Sanchez was first to the falling ball, deftly lifting it over the defender and goalkeeper into the open net for her fifth goal of the tournament. USA 1, MEX 0 ( SEE GOAL)
MEX - Jacqueline Ovalle (Maricarmen Reyes), 69th minute: Mexico put together a nice build up down the right side and served a cross into the middle where Maricarmen Reyes collected well at the top of the box. She then played a pass square to Ovalle, who took a touch into the penalty area on the left side and hit a perfect shot just inside the right post past diving U.S. goalkeeper Laurel Ivory. USA 1, MEX 1 (SEE GOAL)
USA - Civana Kuhlmann (Sophia Smith), 86th minute: With the USA pushing for the winner, substitute Sophia Smith fought off a defender on the right wing and whipped in a cross. Kuhlmann timed her run perfectly and knifed through the goal area to smash home a volley with her knee. It was her fourth goal of the tournament. USA 2, MEX 1 ( SEE GOAL) FINAL
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
MEX - Miriam Aguirre, 8th minute: Ashley Sanchez beat two defenders around the left side and dribbled toward the near post. Aguirre held her position and batted the close range shot over the goal for a corner kick.
MEX - Miriam Aguirre, 17th minute: Aguirre came up big again on Sanchez, once again cutting down the angle on a one-on-one and threw her body in front of the shot to block the close range chance.
MEX - Miriam Aguirre, 57th minute: JaelinHowell hit a bending shot from the top of the box that was headed into the upper right corner before Aguirre leapt to push the ball out for a corner kick.
MEX - Miriam Aguirre, 65th minute: Civana Kuhlmann got behind the defense on the right side and fired low, but Aguirre turned it away with a kick save.
USA - Laurel Ivory, 80th minute: With the game in the balance, Mexico got off a shot from the right side of the penalty area that Ivory was able to get her gloves on with a dive to her right that helped the ball bounce just wide right of the post.
- U.S. U-17 Women's National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. U-17 Women's National Team vs. Mexico U-17 Women's National Team
Date: March 13, 2016
Competition: 2016 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship - Final
Venue: Grenada Athletics Stadium; St. George's, Grenada
Weather: 88 degrees; clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
MEX 0 1 1
USA - Ashley Sanchez 43rd minute
MEX - Jacqueline Ovalle (Montserrat Hernandez) 69
USA - Civana Kuhlmann (Sophia Smith) 86
USA : 1-Laurel Ivory; 15-Kennedy Wesley (11-Izzy Rodriguez, 46), 16-Karina Rodriguez, 4-Naomi Girma, 19-Kate Wiesner (3-Sophia Smith, 79); 8-Brianna Pinto, 18-Jaelin Howell, 17-Jordan Canniff (20-Frankie Tagliaferri, 65), 10-Ashley Sanchez (capt.), 7-Alexa Spaanstra; 14-Civana Kuhlmann
Subs Not Used: 2-Taryn Torres, 6-Emily Smith, 12-Hilary Beall, 13-Rachel Jones
Not Available: 5-Sydney Zandi, 9-Kiara Pickett
Head Coach: B.J. Snow
MEX : 12-Miriam Aguirre; 2-Ashley Soto, 3-Alessandra Ramirez, 4-Kimberly Rodriguez, 14-Reyna Reyes (18-Veronica Avalos, 90+2), 20-Maricarmen Reyes (17-Luisa Delgado, 56), 8-Alexia Delgado (capt.), 7-Dayana Cazares (19-Gabriela Juarez, 66); 9-Daniela Espinosa, 10-Montserrat Hernandez, 11-Jacqueline Ovalle
Subs Not Used: 1-Kelsey Brann, 5-Jimena Lopez, 6-Vanessa Gonzalez, 13-Akemi Yokoyama, 15-Alma Lopez, 16-Alexandra Martinez
Head Coach: Christopher Cuellar
Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 24 / 10
Shots on Goal: 12 / 5
Saves: 4 / 10
Corner Kicks: 7 / 5
Fouls: 7 / 8
Offside: 2 / 0
Referee: Marie-Soleil Beaudoin (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Suzanne Morisset (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephanie Yee Sing (JAM)
4th Official: Joanne Monestime (HAI)