Young Girlz crash out after USA spanking

Jamaica’s hopes of securing an historic Under-17 World Cup qualification ended on Wednesday as the young Reggae Girlz went down 0-4 to defending champions United States in a lopsided Concacaf Women’s Championship quarter-final encounter in the Dominican Republic.

The Jamaicans who would have dreamt of upsetting the applecart, but the gulf in class was all too evident on the day where United States showed their ruthless side at Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal.

In fact, the scoreline could have been more embarrassing had it not been for some outstanding glovework by Liya Brooks, who showed that there is more to her than meets the eye.

Amalia Villarreal (3rd minute), Charlotte Kohler (32nd), Captain Riley Jackson (42nd) and substitute Melina Rebimbas (56th) did the damage for the Americans, who are heavily favoured to retain their title.

Much like they did against the other North American powerhouse Canada in the group stages, the Jamaicans would have hoped to contain the United States, before using their speed and athleticism down the channels to hit on the counter.

However, that would not materialise on this occasion, as the Americans represented a more formidable foes and their frantic start quickly forced the young Reggae Girlz into a defensive posture.

They wasted no time in capitalising on the space given, as Villarreal met Onyeka Gamero’s cross well and headed past Brooks to open the scoring.

Though the young Reggae Girlz gradually settled after the goal, they continued to absorb pressure and fortunately for them a number of the United States efforts were wide off the target.

The young Reggae Girlz managed to break out of their own half in the 22nd minute with Destiny Powell finding space to get a shot off, but Abigail Gundry, in goal for United States, was comfortably behind the ball.

However, they were back defending four minutes later and it took a decent save from Brooks to keep out Taylor Suarez’s stinging effort.

With the young Reggae Girlz having no answers to the United States attacking thrust, it was only a matter of time before the defending champions extended the lead and they inevitably did two minutes past the half-hour mark.

A good build up again unlocked Jamaica’s defence and Gamero again played provider, this time to Kohler, whose powerful effort from deep inside the 18-yard box left Brooks as a mere spectator.

When the Jamiacans did manage to break free for a second time, Natoya Atkinson’s effort again lacked venom and as such, caused no problems for Gundry.

And just when it seemed as if the young Reggae Girlz had survived the worse, another good build-up caught the defence napping, leaving Jackson to fire home and put United States 3-1 up at the break.

It was more of the same on the resumption and though United States Head Coach Natalia Astrain ringed in the changes, the team didn’t miss a beat, as they continued to hound their Jamaican counterparts, who were more resilient in defence.

In the 51st the menacing Gamero made space for a shot which called Brooks into action to parry.

Five minutes later Gamero floated a decent cross for Rebimbas, who replaced Villarreal, to poke home from close range.

With the clock winding down and her defence crumbling, Brooks remained resolute and again came up big to push Suarez’s stinging shot over the crossbar.

And the goaltender who was also between the sticks in the Under-20 setup, got down well at her near post to deny Rebimbas a second two minutes from time

Sherdon Cowan

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