Out-of-contention U-20 Girlz seek consolation vs Panama
Jamaica's Maya Raghungandanan (right) challenges Tiffany Avila of Honduras during the Concacaf Under-20 qualifier fixture in Nicaragua in April 2023.(Photo: Concacaf Media)

WITH no chance of qualifying for the 2024 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup, Jamaica's young Reggae Girlz's last Group A encounter against Panama in today's Concacaf Women's Under-20 Championship will be purely academic for both teams.

The game is scheduled to begin at 2:00 pm (Jamaica time) at Estadio Felix Sanchez in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In the other Group A match-up, defending champions United States are to face Canada at the same venue at 6:00 pm.

Jamaica's wait to qualify for a FIFA Women's Under-20 World Cup has been extended as the young Reggae Girlz were defeated 0-4 by both Canada and the United States.

A hat-trick from Madeline Dahlien (10th, 47th, and 79th minutes) and one from Tessa Dellarose (49th minutes) led the United States to victory against the Jamaicans on Sunday. Canada had earlier defeated Panama 5-0.

Both the United States and Canada have six points and will face off to determine Group A winners in a top-of-the-table duel.

The young Reggae Girlz performed admirably in comparison to their opening loss to Canada, but simply lacked the class and talent of their American counterparts.

The Hugh Bradford-coached Girlz showed spirit defensively and did manage to display some individual flair when in possession, but their opponents kept them from offering much on the attacking front.

It only took the Americans 10 minutes to break the deadlock as Dahlien broke through the backline and easily shot past Liya Brooks, in goal for the young Reggae Girlz.

USA applied consistent pressure and found a few more openings but poor shooting let them down. This, combined with the fact that the young Reggae Girlz were fairly well organised at the back, resulted in a 1-0 score at half-time.

However, the Girlz's first-half achievements were extinguished like a tiny flame in the wind as the United States attackers got right to work on the resumption. Two minutes in, Dahlien skilfully met a weighted cross from Onyeka Gamero, beating Brooks to her left and making it 2-0.

Before the Girlz could regroup, Dellarose's stunning left-footed strike from roughly 25 yards out gave Brooks no chance as the Americans went 3-0 up.

Brooks was better positioned in the 54th minute to deny substitute Jill Flammia's shot from just outside the 18-yard box, getting down well to her right to parry onto the upright.

Dahlien, on the other hand, scored her third and the fourth for the Americans with another comfortable finish beyond Brooks in the 79th minute.

Costa Rica and Mexico have qualified for the semi-finals alongside the United States and Canada.

The top three finishers in the event will go on to represent the region in the 2024 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.

Ruddy Allen

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