USA defeats Morocco 4-0 to claim first place in Group A at FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup
GOA, India – The U.S. Under-17 Women’s Youth National Team defeated Morocco 4-0 in its first-round finale at the 2022 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup, topping the group and setting up a quarterfinal date with Group B runner-up Nigeria on Friday, Oct. 21 in Navi Mumbai (FS2; 7 a.m. ET).
The USA finished first in Group A with seven points. Brazil finished second, also with seven points, but the U.S. held the advantage in goal differential +12 to +5.
FINAL GROUP A STANDINGS
The USA controlled a vast majority of the possession on the night and it finally paid off when midfielder Charlotte Kohler opened the scoring with a nifty finish in the 24th minute. Despite a disciplined defensive effort from the Atlas Lionesses, who played most of the game in a very low defensive block with three midfielders playing just in front of five defenders, the floodgates opened midway through the second half as Kohler added another and World Cup debutant Samantha Smith bagged a brace in the span of 13 minutes. It was also Smith’s first-ever U-17 cap.
The victory clinched the USA’s return to the knockout stage of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup for the first time since the inaugural tournament in 2008 when it finished runner-up to Korea DPR in New Zealand. It was also the first time the USA has won its group at this tournament.
The match kicked off in a driving rain, but that served to cool down the humid India night just a bit and Morocco proved tough to break in the game’s early going. The U.S. also rotated players from its second group stage match as head coach Natalia Astrain made seven changes to the starting XI and got the opportunity to rest the legs of numerous players.
While the Atlas Lionesses deployed their bunker tactics, and the USA didn’t fire its first shot until the 22nd minute, the young U.S. team didn’t get frustrated and kept working the ball around the field with skill and pace, looking for gaps and eventually the Americans got the goals it needed to secure a comfortable first place finish in the group.
The breakthrough came in the 24th minute as forward Melina Rebimbas played Kohler from the right edge of the box and the Northern California native one-timed a bouncing shot just inside the right post. The USA earned a penalty kick on a hand ball in first half stoppage time, but a VAR review ruled that midfielder Lauren Martinho was just a step offside before taking the shot that was blocked by the hand of a Moroccan defender.
The Moroccan defense started to tire as the game wore on the goals started coming midway through the second half with substitutes Smith and Amalia Villareal playing big roles. Smith entered the match after the break, becoming the 18th and final U.S. field player to log minutes at the World Cup, and the Boise, Idaho native made the most of her international debut. In the 68th minute, Emeri Adames made a blazing run down the left wing before sending a cross in for Smith who battled with her defender to knock the ball into the net on the slide.
After a brief VAR review determined that Adames was onside on her run through, the referee pointed to the center, sparking a second wild goal celebration from the U.S. players.
Kohler netted her second of the night just five minutes later, making another nice run into the box before coolly finishing a cross from forward Villarreal. Kohler’s three goals lead the U.S. team in India and are tied for the tournament lead.
Charlotte Kohler scores her third goal in three matches 🙌
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 17, 2022
Smith put an exclamation point on things in the 81st minute, scoring from almost the exact same spot as her first goal. Villarreal notched her second assist, making a run down the left side before playing a low cross to Smith, who got just inside her defender to send another first-time shot past the goalkeeper.
Another brace ⚽️⚽️
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 17, 2022
The USA’s convincing victory also came with the benefit of some rest for a number players who have played key roles thus far in India. Captain Riley Jackson, Martinho and right back Gisele Thompson each played only a half while left back Savannah King and winger Onyeka Gamero did not play at all, giving the USA the opportunity to have some fresh legs for its Friday quarterfinal showdown with Nigeria.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
USA – Charlotte Kohler (Melina Rebimbas), 24th minute: Right back Gisele Thompson drove the ball up the right side before finding Rebimbas making a run to the right edge of the box. She maneuvered around her defender before slotting a pass past several Moroccan defenders to Kohler near the penalty spot. The midfielder one-timed it with her right foot low inside the right post past the diving Moroccan goalkeeper. USA 1, MAR 0
USA – Samantha Smith (Emeri Adames), 68th minute: Forward Amalia Villarreal sprung Adames down the left wing and she drove towards the end line before turning towards goal. Adames then cut a cross back for Smith who was making a run to the six-yard box. Smith got just inside of her defender and slide to get her left heel on the ball and rolled the ball into the goal for her first career international goal. USA 2, MAR 0
USA – Charlotte Kohler (Amalia Villarreal), 73rd minute: Midfielder Ella Sanchez played the sprinting Villarreal into the penalty box on the left side. As the Moroccan defense brought pressure, the forward from Michigan was composed on the ball, cutting back with a nifty move before finding Kohler in the middle of the six-yard box and sending in a well-placed cross on the ground. Kohler finished smartly with her left foot, one-timing it into the right side of the goal. USA 3, MAR 0
USA – Samantha Smith (Amalia Villarreal), 81st minute: Sanchez once again played a pass to Villarreal in the box. This time, she cut it back towards the six-yard box for the late arriving Smith, who once again rubbed past her defender to send a one-time effort into the right side of the net. USA 4, MAR 0
- The seven changes Natalia Astrain made to the starting line-up from its second group stage match against Brazil were goalkeeper Valentina Amaral, defenders Ella Emri and Nicola Fraser, midfielder Charlotte Kohler, plus forwards Emeri Adames, Melina Rebimbas and Taylor Suarez.
- Amaral and forward Samantha Smith made their World Cup debuts with Smith tallying her first two international goals. All 18 field players have now logged minutes for the USA in India and goalkeeper Abigail Gundry is the only player yet to see action.
- Amaral’s first World Cup match was her third U-17 cap and she picked up the shutout.
- Today marked the first meeting between the USA and Morocco at any level of women’s soccer.
- Kohler’s goals today were the eighth and ninth of her international career in 11 appearances.
-U.S. UNDER-17 WOMEN’S YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Women’s Under-17 Women’s Youth National Team vs. Morocco
Date: Oct. 17, 2022
Competition: 2022 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup
Venue: Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium; Goa, India
Kickoff: 10:30 a.m. ET (8 p.m. local)
Weather: 79 degrees, humid, rainy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 3 4
MAR 0 0 0
USA – Charlotte Kohler (Melina Rebimbas) 24th minute
USA – Samantha Smith (Emeri Adames) 68
USA – Charlotte Kohler (Amalia Villarreal) 73
USA – Samantha Smith (Amalia Villarreal) 81
USA: 21-Valentina Amaral; 20-Gisele Thompson (6-Samantha Smith, 46), 4-Cameron Roller, 5-Ella Emri, 2-Nicola Fraser; 7-Riley Jackson (Capt.) (10-Mia Bhuta, 46), 8-Charlotte Kohler, 19-Lauren Martinho (15-Ella Sanchez, 46); 9-Taylor Suarez (17-Jordyn Bugg, 78), 14-Melina Rebimbas (16-Amalia Villarreal, 66), 13-Emeri Adames
Substitutes not used: 1-Abigail Gundry, 3-Savannah King, 11-Nicollette Kiorpe, 12-Victoria Safradin, 18-Onyeka Gamero
Head coach: Natalia Astrain
MAR: 12-Wissal Titah; 8-Wissal El Assaoui (5-Hiba Karami,79), 4-Nadia Benassou, 20-Fatima El Ghazouani, 13-Dania Mrabti; 3-Dania Boussatta (21-Iman El Hannachi 46), 9-Samya Masnaoui (15-Houda Elmestour, 82), 7-Kenza Laksiri (18-Ambre Basser, 74), 10-Djennah Cherif, 17-Yasmine Zouhir; 2-Hajar Said (11-Doha El Madani, 46)
Substitutes not used: 1-Louisa Derbali, 6-Lina Aich, 14-Kamilia Et Tayyeby, 16-Ameerah Maamry, 19-Mina Bacha El Hamzaoui,
Head coach: Anthony Rimasson
Stats Summary: USA / MAR
Shots: 16 / 5
Shots on Goal: 7 / 1
Saves: 1 / 3
Corner Kicks: 8 / 1
Fouls: 4 / 11
Offside: 3 / 1
MAR – Yasmine Zouhir (Caution) 64th minute
USA – Ella Emri (Caution) 90+2
Referee: Fernandez Anahi (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Mascarana Luciana (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Tepusa Mihaela (ROU)
Fourth Official: Corella Susana (ECU)
VAR: Pu-Udom Sivakorn (THA)
Assistant VAR: Ratajova Lucie (CZE)
FIFA Player of the Match: Charlotte Kohler