Mexico tops group with historic 2-0 upset against the USWNT

Credit: Mexico NT

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Credit: Mexico NT

This Monday, February 26, the USWNT and Mexico played their last group stage game in the CONCACAF W Gold Cup.

The game was an important one at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. in what was the deciding match of who would finish top of Group A in this W Gold Cup.

The USWNT were the heavy favorites heading into this match, based on the roster and recent performances, defeating the Dominican Republic 5-0 and Argentina 4-0. However, Mexico pulled off a historic upset, defeating the USWNT 2-0, a result that no one anticipated. Mexico had plenty of momentum heading into this match, having beaten the Dominican Republic 8-0.

Abby Dahlkemper was the only San Diego Wave player starting for the U.S. in this match, as Naomi Girma, Alex Morgan, and Jaedyn Shaw all started on the bench.

The first half of the game was highly intense and the first goal of the clash came in the 38th minute when Lizbeth Ovalle chipped the ball over Alyssa Naeher. Becky Sauerbrunn had a huge error in the play when she tried to clear the ball but instead ended up giving the ball to Ovalle.

The first half ended 1-0 in Mexico’s favor and Twila Kilgore knew she needed to make some changes for the second half. Emily Sonnett replaced Lynn Williams, and Alex Morgan came on for Sophia Smith at the start of the second half.

The USWNT kept on pushing for the equalizer, and at one point, that goal seemed inevitable with all the firepower the United States had. However, Mexico also did not back down and kept on pushing for a second goal to be more comfortable in the match.

Eventually, Twila Kilgore brought on Korbin Albert, Midge Purce, and Jaedyn Shaw to try and salvage at least a point from this clash. Mexico also made a key change in the 82nd minute when Mayra Pelayo replaced Lizbeth Ovalle. Pelayo had already scored against the Dominican Republic off the bench and was looking to make an impact in this match.

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The Xolos Femenil player did end up scoring in compensation time via a powerful outside-of-the-box shot, which seemed to come out of nowhere. Pelayo is one of the rising stars on this Mexico squad, currently providing some outstanding performances.

The USWNT did come close to equalizing the score before this goal, as Trinity Rodman specifically had a couple of scoring plays, but she was denied by a rigid backline led by Tijuana native Greta Espinoza. Mexico had a fantastic performance and a very complete one, showcasing their talent in several sectors of the pitch.

This win is a historic one for El Tri, as they top Group A of this W Gold Cup and advance to the quarterfinals of the competition. The U.S. also advanced out of this group, but this loss definitely makes this run in the group stage disappointing, with World Cup ghosts still haunting this team.

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