Stengel, U.S. Clinch World Cup Berth; Advance to CONCACAF Final
March 9, 2012
PANAMA CITY, Panama - Wake Forest's Katie Stengel dished out two assists as the U.S. Under-20 Women's National Soccer Team defeated Mexico 4-0 Friday in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Championships in Panama City , Panama. With the victory, the U.S. clinched a berth in the 2012 FIFA Under-20 FIFA Women's World Cup being held in Japan from Aug. 19 to Sept. 8.
The USA has now qualified for all six FIFA Women's World Cups that have been held at this level, with the first two in 2002 and 2004 being held as U-19 events before it was moved to U-20 in 2006.
The U.S. also advances to the tournament's championship game on Sunday, March 11, where it will face Group A winner Canada. The match will kickoff at 8 p.m. ET at Panama City's Stadio Rommel Fernandez, site off all the matches of the competition.
The USA opened the scoring just 12 minutes into the match after a dazzling dribble from Stengel in the left side of the penalty box. Stengel slithered past a defender and struck a cross just as the ball touched the end line. Her service was deflected by Mexico goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago at the near post, but the ball made its way to Julie Johnston at the far post and she finished smartly, smashing her chance off once bounce into the roof of the net from close range.
Stengel notched her second assist of the match in the 81st minute, dishing to Kealia Ohai who received the ball on the left side of the penalty area, then cut back inside to her right to create some space from her defender. She then blasted a shot across the face of the goal that nestled into Friday's ever popular right corner.
The Demon Deacon sophomore had a productive night, not only as a distributor, but also creating for herself throughout the match. She had two chances for the goal in the 60th minute, attempting a left-footed shot that was saved to Santiago's right. Shortly thereafter, Stengel had another shot attempt, but it banged off the left post.