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USWNT taking on Mexico in Concacaf W Championship group stage finale

After winning its first two matches at the Concacaf W Championship (3-0 vs. Haiti on July 4 and 5-0 vs. Jamaica on July 7), the USA needs a win or draw against Mexico to take first place in Group A and has already secured a spot in the semifinal round. Mexico finds itself in a drastically different scenario as it is currently last in the group and needing a win over the USA to possibly earn a berth to the 10-team FIFA inter-confederation playoffs, which will determine the final three teams to the 2023 World Cup.

Following the group stage finale against Mexico, the USA will kick off the knockout round on Thursday, July 14. Should the USA win Group A, it will face the runner-up from Group B in the semifinals (7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. local on CBS Sports Network, Paramount+ and ViX). The runner-up from Group A will play the Group B winner in the second semifinal of the evening (10 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. local on CBS Sports Network, Paramount+ and ViX) with both matched taking place at Estadio Universitario. The Final and Third-Place Match will be played on Monday, July 18 at Estadio BBVA.

INTRIGUE ABOUNDS ON FINAL DAY OF GROUP PLAY

With six points and a plus-eight goal differential through its first two games of the tournament, the USA controls its own destiny and can guarantee a first-place finish in Group A with a win or draw against Mexico. Due to a commanding goal differential, which is the first tiebreaker should two teams finish level on points within the group, the USA would still likely win the group with a loss to Mexico, depending on the result of the other Group A matchup between Haiti and Jamaica, which kicks off at 10 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. local at Estadio BBVA.

Jamaica and Haiti both have three points so far this tournament and the winner of that matchup will earn a berth to the World Cup by virtue of a top-two finish in the group. Haiti, which has a superior goal difference, needs just a tie to secure an historic accomplishment and qualify for its first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup.  Jamaica needs a win to advance to its second straight Women’s World Cup. The Reggae Girlz became the first ever Caribbean nation to compet in the Women’s World Cup when it made its debut at France 2019.  The third-place finisher from Group A will advance to the inter-confederation playoffs.

The final standings in each group will be determined by total points (three for a win, one for a tie), with the first tiebreaker being overall goal difference, followed by most total goals scored. The next tiebreaker is lowest number of points based on the number of yellow and red cards in all group matches, followed by the drawing of lots, a situation which could come into play in Group B.

Canada and Costa Rica have both qualified for the World Cup and have clinched a spot in the semifinals, but the final order of finish in the group will come down to the final match day. The teams will square off a 7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. local on July 11 at Estadio BBVA and enter the match deadlocked on points (six each), goals scored (seven), goal differential (+7) and total cards accumulated (one yellow card each). Should Canada and Costa Rica tie the match and receive the same number of cards in the match, Concacaf will have to draw lots to determine who finishes first in the group.

The other Group B match between Panama and Trinidad & Tobago, which will be played at 7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. local at Estadio Universitario, will determine the third-place finisher from that group. Both nations are in search of their first points of the tournament, though Panama has the superior goal differential and would secure the inter-confederation playoff berth with a draw.

BALANCED ATTACK, STAUNCH DEFENSE LEAD RED, WHITE AND BLUE

The USWNT has been in fine form through its first two matches of the Concacaf W Championship, opening the competition with a 3-0 win over Haiti on July 4 and following it up with a 5-0 victory over Jamaica on July 7.

The USA leads all teams in the tournament with eight total goals scored, which have come from six different players. Alex Morgan – who tallied twice against Haiti – and Sophia Smith – who netted a brace of her own against Jamaica – lead the USA with two goals each and are tied for second in scoring among all players this tournament. Midge Purce, Rose Lavelle, Kristie Mewis and Trinity Rodman have one goal apiece.

Mallory Pugh leads the USA and ranks second in the tournament with two assists this tournament while Kelley O’Hara, Naomi Girma, Sofia Huerta and Ashley Sanchez have also tallied assists for the USWNT.

Defensively, the USA is one of three teams yet to concede a goal this tournament and has allowed just four shots on goal. The USWNT has now kept a clean sheet in each of its last 30 matches in World Cup and Olympic Qualifying, a streak that dates back to its World Cup qualifying campaign in 2010. Defender Alana Cook leads the USA with 180 total minutes played this tournament, followed by Pugh (163 minutes) and defender Emily Fox (135).

USWNT DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)

GOALKEEPERS (3): Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit; 1), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 6), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 82)

DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 12/0), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC; 16/0), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 3/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 16/0), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 155/3), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 204/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 67/0)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 113/25), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC; 3/1), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 75/21), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 42/6), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 11/2), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 29/3)

FORWARDS (7): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 11/4), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC; 193/117), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars; 76/23), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 17/4), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 190/62), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 5/2), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 18/8)

Unlike previous years where the rosters for Concacaf Qualifying have featured 20 players, this year roster sizes were expanded to 23, matching the current World Cup roster size. U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Vlatko Andonovski announced his 23-player roster for the final competition on June 13, bringing in a squad that includes proven veterans on the international stage as along with dynamic, up-and-coming talent.

Teams are allowed to utilize five substitutes per match in this tournament, which the USA did in the tournament opener vs. Haiti and again on July 7 vs. Jamaica.

Nine players of the 23 players on this roster for the Concacaf W Championship were part of the 2019 team that won the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Only 10 players entered this tournament with previous experience in World Cup or Olympic qualifying at the senior national team level, though 12 players have since made their World Cup and Olympic Qualifying debuts. The only player who has yet to see action this tournament is goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury.

INSIDE THE SERIES: USA VS. MEXICO

Monday’s match in Monterrey will be the 42nd meeting all-time between the USA and Mexico, which will move Mexico into tie with Sweden for the fourth most common opponent in USA history, trailing only Canada (62 games), China PR (58) and Norway (50). The USA leads the overall series with Mexico, 39-1-1, and has won the last 15 head-to-head meetings between the teams by an overall margin of 64-4.

The USA and Mexico squared off most recently in the Send-Off Series in July of 2021, prior to the USWNT’s departure for the Tokyo Olympics. The teams played twice in East Hartford, Connecticut, resulting in a pair of 4-0 wins for the USA on July 1 and July 5.

This will be the first meeting between the USA and Mexico in a competitive match since squaring off on February 7, 2020, in the semifinals of Concacaf Olympic Qualifying. The USA won 4-0 behind goals from Rose Lavelle, Samantha Mewis (x2) and Christen Press to clinch its spot in the Tokyo Olympics.

Mexico is the opponent the USA has faced most frequently in World Cup and Olympic Qualifying, with the teams meeting 13 times previously in Concacaf Qualifying. The USA has won 12 of those 13 meetings with Mexico’s only victory in qualifying – and only win ever against the USA – coming in the last matchup between the teams in Mexico, a 2-1 victory for the home side in the semifinals of World Cup Qualifying in Cancun. Mexico’s only other result against the USA came during an October 2007 friendly in Albuquerque, New Mexico, drawing 1-1.

ABOUT THE CONCACAF W CHAMPIONSHIP

For the first time, Concacaf is holding qualifying for the Women’s World Cup and the Olympics in the same tournament. That puts an end to the format which has seen eight previous Concacaf World Cup qualifying tournaments and five previous Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournaments. For the 1996 and 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cups, teams qualified through their placing at the previous years’ World Cup.

The eight-team field for the Concacaf W Championship features the USA and Canada, who automatically qualified for the championship round as the highest-ranked teams in the region at No. 1 and No. 6 in the world, respectively, along with the six group winners from the Concacaf W Qualifiers. For the qualifiers, 30 teams were drawn into six groups of five for the qualifying competition and played a total of four matches across the February and April 2022 FIFA Windows to determine the group winners. Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Panama, Haiti and Trinidad & Tobago won their respective groups to join the USA and Canada in the field for the Concacaf W Championship, which is one of the two new major women’s summer competitions taking place in the region from 2021 through 2024.

After round-robin group play in the Concacaf W Championship, the top two finishers in each group – the USA and either Jamaica or Haiti from Group A and Canada and Costa Rica from Group B – have booked a spot in the semifinals and guarantee their place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Additionally, both group stage third-place finishers will advance to a 10-team FIFA Women’s World Cup intercontinental play-off. At the conclusion of the Concacaf W Championship, the winning nation will also guarantee its place in the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games Women’s Football Tournament and the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup. The runner-up and the third-place nations will progress to a Concacaf Olympic play-in to be played in September of 2023. The winner of the play-in will also guarantee their place in the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games and the 2024 W Gold Cup.

ALL EYES ON AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

With the opening match of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup just over a year away, fourteen teams have already qualified for the tournament, which has been expanded to now feature 32 teams, up from 24 in both 2015 and 2019. The nations that have already punched their tickets Down Under are co-hosts Australia and New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, China PR, Philippines and Vietnam from Asia, and Sweden, France, Denmark and Spain from Europe, and now the USA, Costa Rica and Canada from Concacaf. This will be the first Women’s World Cup at any level for both the Philippines and Vietnam, who qualified through the AFC Asian Women’s Cup. Still to be filled are four slots from Africa, the final automatic spot from Concacaf – which will go to either Jamaica or Haiti, three slots from South America, seven remaining slots from Europe and three slots from the 10-team playoff tournament that will feature two teams from Asia (Chinese Taipei and Thailand), two from Africa, two from Concacaf, two from South America, one from Oceania and one from Europe.

The USA has qualified for its ninth consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup, having played in every tournament since the competition’s inception in 1991 and winning a record four titles. Japan and Sweden have also qualified for a ninth Women’s World Cup and Germany, Norway, Brazil and Nigeria can join that group as well if they successfully qualify for Australia/New Zealand. The USA is also looking to qualify for an eighth consecutive Summer Olympics.

USA ROSTER NOTES

  • The USA has an overall combined record of 57-1-1 in World Cup and Olympic Qualifying matches, the lone loss coming in 2010 vs. Mexico in the semifinals of World Cup Qualifying. The USA’s only draw in World Cup or Olympic Qualifying officially came in the final of the 2008 Olympic Qualifying Tournament against Canada, though the USA prevailed on penalty kicks to win the tournament.
  • The USA has won all five Olympic qualifying tournaments in which it has participated and has won eight of the nine World Cup qualifying tournaments in which it competed, the lone blemish coming in the 2010 Concacaf Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament, the USA fell to Mexico in the semifinal in Cancun, Mexico and Canada defeated Mexico in the championship game.
  • Eight players on the Concacaf W Championship roster were on the USWNT’s roster for Olympic Qualifying in 2020: Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Alyssa Naeher, Kelley O’Hara, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Emily Sonnett and Andi Sullivan.
  • Nine players on this year’s 23-player CWC roster were a part of the USA’s 2018 World Cup Qualifying roster, with Alex Morgan and Mallory Pugh joining Horan, Lavelle, Naeher, O’Hara, Rapinoe, Sauerbrunn and Sonnett.
  • Megan Rapinoe leads the squad with a combined 24 appearances in qualifying events – though she missed the July 7 match against Jamaica as she was in Washington D.C. to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She returned to Mexico that evening and is back and available for selection against Mexico.
  • Morgan is the next-most experienced player on this roster in World Cup and Olympic Qualifying with 21 qualifying caps, followed by Becky Sauerbrunn (19) and Kelley O’Hara (17).
  • Morgan, Rapinoe and Sauerbrunn were on the U.S. team that last played in a World Cup qualifying tournament in Mexico. That was in 2010 when the USA lost its only match to Mexico, which occurred in the semifinal in Cancun. That loss forced the USA to win the Third-Place Match and then the two-leg playoff vs. Italy to qualify for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a tournament in which the USA advanced to the Final before falling in penalty kicks to Japan.
  • The most capped player on the roster is Sauerbrunn at 204, followed by Morgan (193), Rapinoe (190), O’Hara (155) and Lindsey Horan (113) while the least capped players are Trinity Rodman (5), Naomi Girma (3), Taylor Kornieck (3) and Aubrey Kingsbury (1).
  • Twelve players on the USA roster for the Concacaf W Championship have 20 caps or fewer: Sophia Smith, Sofia Huerta, Midge Purce, Emily Fox, Ashley Hatch, Alana Cook, Ashley Sanchez, Casey Murphy, Rodman, Girma, Kornieck and Kingsbury.
  • Becky Sauerbrunn is the oldest player on the roster (37 years old) while Rodman is the youngest (20 years old) and was six years old when Sauerbrunn made her USWNT debut. Rapinoe celebrated her 37th birthday on July 5, but is a month younger than Sauerbrunn.
  • Of the 23 players on this roster, seven are in their 30s while eight players are age 25 or younger.
  • Morgan is the top scorer on the roster with 117 career goals. Rapinoe has 62 and Lindsey Horan has 25. Pugh has 23 goals for the USWNT while Rose Lavelle has 21.
  • Fourteen different players have scored for the USWNT so far in 2022 – Sophia Smith (7), Catarina Macario (5), Mallory Pugh (5), Rose Lavelle (3), Alex Morgan (2), Ashley Hatch (2), Ashley Sanchez (2), Jaelin Howell (1), Kristie Mewis (2), Trinity Rodman (2), Midge Purce (1), Kelley O’Hara (1), Andi Sullivan (1) and Taylor Kornieck (1).
  • The USA’s other five goals this year came via own goals, the most ever in a calendar year in program history with three on Feb. 20 vs. New Zealand, and one each on April 12 vs. Uzbekistan and June 28 vs. Colombia.
  • Twelve different players have registered an assist for the USWNT so far in 2022, led by Pugh with seven assists. Lavelle (5 assists), Sanchez (3), Alana Cook (2), O’Hara (2) and Huerta (2) also have multiple assists on the year while Megan Rapinoe, Purce, Hatch, Macario, Sullivan and Grima have one assist each.
  • In total, 18 different players have been directly involved in goals for the USWNT in 2022, tallying either a goal or an assist.
  • Defender Alana Cook leads the USA in total minutes played so far in 2022 with 684 minutes of action, followed by defender Emily Fox (576), Pugh (565) and Sanchez (540).
  • Three players – Mallory Pugh, Ashley Sanchez and Kristie Mewis – have appeared for the USA in all nine matches in 2022.
  • Head coach Vlatko Andonovski is 36-2-6 in 44 games (two at the end of 2019, nine in 2020, 24 in 2021, and nine so far in 2022).
  • Through nine games in 2022, the USWNT has had 23 goals scored by players under the age of 24. Over the course of 2019, 2020 and 2021 — a total of 57 games — the USWNT had a combined total of 10 goals scored by players under the age of 24.


IN FOCUS: MEXICO | 
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

Current FIFA World Ranking: 26

Concacaf Ranking: 3

FIFA Country Code: MEX

World Cup appearances: 3 (1999, 2011, 2015)

Best World Cup Finish: Group Stage (1999, 2011, 2015)

Olympic appearances: 1 (2004)
Best Olympic Finish: Group Stage (2004)

Record vs. USA: 1-39-1

Last Meeting vs. USA: July 5, 2021 (4-0 USA win in Send-Off Series; East Hartford, Conn.)

Coach: Monica Vergara

MEXICO WOMEN’S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION 

Goalkeepers (3): 1-Emily Alvarado (Stade de Reims, FRA), 12-Itzel Gonzalez (Club America), 21-Melany Villeda (Pumas UNAM)

Defenders (5): 2-Kenti Robles (Real Madrid CF, ESP), 3-Greta Espinoza (Tigres UANL), 4-Rebeca Bernal (CF Monterrey), 5-Jimena Lopez (OL Reign, USA), 13-Bianca Sierra (Tigres UANL)

Midfielders (10): 6-Alexia Delgado (Arizona State, USA), 8-Carolina Jaramillo (Chivas), 10-Stephany Mayor (Tigres UANL), 14-Casandra Montero (Chivas), 15-Cristina Ferral (Tigres UANL), 16-Nancy Antonio (Tigres UANL), 17-Jaqueline Ovalle (Tigres UANL), 18-Joseline Montoya (Chivas), 20-Diana Garcia (CF Monterrey), 23-Maricarmen Reyes (UCLA, USA)

Forwards (5): 7-Myra Delgadillo (SC Braga, POR), 9-Katty Martinez (Club America), 11-Maria Sanchez (Houston Dash, USA), 19-Alicia Cervantes (Chivas), 22-Diana Ordonez (North Carolina Courage, USA) 

MEXICO ROSTER NOTES

  • Mexico was stunned in its first two games, falling to Jamaica, 1-0, on a header goal from Reggae Girlz star Bunny Shaw and then fell to Haiti, 3-0, as Les Grenadières scored on three set plays – two penalty kicks converted by Roselord Borgella (14th minute) and Nerilia Mondesir (67th) and one free kick (which was smashed home by Sherly Jeudy in the 78th) that resulted from a last defender call that led to a red card ejection for Greta Espinoza, who will be suspended for the game against the USA.
  • Mexico is eliminated from qualifying directly to the 2023 World Cup and will need a win over the USA to even have a chance to finish third and earn a berth to the 10-team FIFA Inter-Confederation Playoffs that will send the final three nations to Australia and New Zealand.
  • The Federación Mexicana de Fútbol officially launched the Liga MX Femenil in 2017 and the league has shown some tremendous growth and been successful both on the field and in the stands and fifteen members of this Mexico roster play in the league.
  • Of the 14 players on Mexico’s roster playing in their domestic league, six play for the four-time overall champion Tigres UANL. Four play for reigning Apertura champions Chivas, two play for Club America and one each for Pumas and CF Monterrey.
  • That leaves eight players playing outside Mexico which includes five playing in the USA, three of them in the NWSL and two in college. Defender Jimena Lopez, who played at Texas A&M, plays with several USWNT teammates at OL Reign, midfielder Maria Sanchez, who hails from Idaho and played collegiately at Idaho and Santa Clara, plays for the Houston Dash and forward Diane Ordonez, who was a youth international for the USA and hails from the Dallas area and played at UVA, plays for the NC Courage.
  • Mexico also has several other players with U.S. ties. Defender Bianca Sierra, who is a star for Tigres, is from Mountain View, Calif. and played college soccer at Auburn.
  • Chiva forward Alicia Cervantes has led the Mexico league in scoring for the past two seasons.
  • The matches in July of 2021 were first against the USA for manager Monica Vergara, who took over in January of 2021. She is the first female head coach in Mexico WNT history. The 39-year-old Vergara, who is very much under intense pressure from the Mexican media after the very poor start to this tournament, was a long-time member of the Mexican National Team and debuted as a teenager. She was a member of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team as a 16-year-old, playing against Germany and Italy. She played against the USA prior to the World Cup on March 28, 1999, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
  • Prior to getting the head coach job with the senior team, Vergara coached the Mexico U-15, U-17, and U-20 teams. She led the U-15 team to a third-place finish at the Youth Olympic Games and most notably took the U-17s to the championship game of the 2018 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup where Mexico fell to Spain.

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