Two weeks ago, I wrote what I then felt was a story of hope. Or, perhaps, what I then felt was the story that should be told.
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Soca Princesses into U-20 semis
Soca Princesses captain Anique Walker was voted “Player of the Match” after she scored for a second straight match to lead her team past host Cayman Islands 4-0 in their second Group B outing to book an historic first Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship semifinal at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, George Town, Cayman Islands on Sunday night.
With group favourites Mexico clobbering Honduras 10-1 in the day’s opening match, the pressure was on the Izzler Browne-coached Soca Princesses to get a win as well, ahead of today’s meeting with the Mexicans from 6 pm (7 pm TT time)
And before the fans had a chance to settle into their seats, the Soca Princesses were threatening to get a quick goal and did so in the second minute when midfielder Patrice Campbell dribbled down the left and delivered a pass that snaked through the box to Shanisa Camejo, whose right-footed shot beat goalkeeper Kristina Seymour at her near post.
The home team’s unlucky fortune 15 minutes later proved to be good for the visitors as T&T forward Shenelle Henry played a pass into the box that Caymanian defender Wilson only managed to blast off of team-mate Jetena Bodden before it looped over Seymour into the net.
Five minutes before the break, T&T went ahead 3-0 when Campbell’s right-sided corner kick was met with a powerful Khadidra Debesette header that Seymour could only parry into the net.
Like the start of the first half, T&T struck early in the second.
Cayman had difficulty clearing out of its penalty-area and a shot on goal from Brianna Ryce ended up at the feet of Walker, who with time and space, turned on her favoured right foot and hammered past Seymour for a 4-0 cushion a minute into the second-half.
Three minutes later Campbell came close to adding to T&T’s tally, but her right footed blast from the edge of the 18-yard box slammed against the post and ricocheted into play.
The hosts were fortunate not to concede another in the 59th when defender Jonelle Warrick had a penalty goal called off after her team-mate Ryce raced into the area while it was being taken, following a handled ball by Wilson from a corner, and in the dying minutes an attempted clearance from Cayman substitute Tatiana Ramoon slammed off of Debesette and onto the crossbar.
Despite the wasted chances, T&T coasted to the win and now look ahead to today’s meeting with the high flying Mexicans who have netted a tournament-high 16 goals from two matches.
The Mexicans lead the table, thanks to superior difference (+15 to the Soca Princesses +6 and only need to avoid defeat to win the group and avoid three-time Concacaf champions USA in the semifinals on Friday.
The Soca Princesses, who have not conceded a goal in three straight Concacaf Under-20 matches dating back to 2010, must win to top the group, having already emerged from the competition’s group stage for the first time in five previous attempts.
Following today’s match, the top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals on Friday from which the winners will contest the final on Sunday, as well as qualify directly for the Under-20 Women’s World Cup from August 5 to 20 in Canada.
The semifinal losers will also meet on Sunday for third spot which also carries a coveted ticket to Canada with it.
The fourth-place finisher also has a chance to qualify but will face a play-off against the third-ranked team from South America (Conmebol).
Mexico 10 (Jazmin Orozco 19th, 46th, 75th, Tanya Samarzich 52nd, 64th, 76th, Briana Campos 68th, 87th, Cynthia Pineda 3rd, Amanda Perez 27th, vs Honduras 1 (Seidy Zapata 80th)
T&T 4 (Shanisa Camejo 2nd, Jetena Bodden o.g 18th, Khadidra Debesette 41st, Anique Walker 46th) vs Cayman Islands 0
Venue: Truman Bodden Sports Complex, Cayman Islands
Today (Tuesday January 14):
T&T vs Mexico, 7 pm
Cayman Islands vs Honduras, 9.30 pm
Friday January 17:
Semifinals: 6 pm and 9 pm
Sunday January 19:
Third place playoff and Final: 6 pm and 9 pm
Teams P W D L F A P
USA 2 2 0 0 9 0 6
Costa Rica 2 1 0 1 5 7 3
Jamaica 2 0 1 1 0 3 1
Guatemala 2 0 1 1 1 5 1
Mexico 2 2 0 0 16 1 6
T&T 2 2 0 0 6 0 6
Cayman Isl 2 0 0 2 0 10 0
Honduras 2 0 0 2 1 12 0