FOOTBALL: Panama & U.S. breeze to CONCACAF Champs wins

The world’s no. 1-ranked women’s football team, the United States, looked every bit the part in routing Mexico, 6-0, in its opener at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship at Shalen’s Stadium in Cary, North Carolina.

Jill Ellis’s American squad opened the scoring in the third minute, when Lindsey Horan sent a cross from the left side to the foot of Megan Rapinoe in front of the goal and she finished quickly for a 1-0 lead.

Although the U.S. had multiple chances to add to the score, the half ended that way. Mexico did not attempt a shot in the half.

In the second half, the pressure from the U.S. side increased and just a couple of minutes in, it was Julie Ertz kicking in a rebound off a Horan cross after a great free kick by Rapinoe that hit the crossbar and bounced back in front of the Mexico net.

At 2-0, the game wasn’t decided, but the issue was closed in the 57th minute, with Alex Morgan was unmarked and headed in a perfect corner kick from Rapinoe for a three-goal lead and the rout was on.

Striker Crystal Dunn’s race down the left side of the field in the 61st minute ended with another goal. She sent a perfect cross in front of the Mexican goal, right to the head of Tobin Heath for a 4-0 lead and Rapinoe (70th) and Morgan (80th) scored their second goals of the night as the Mexican side tired.

Panama also opened with a shut-out, breezing past Trinidad & Tobago, 3-0. Marta Cox for a goal in the 12th minute for the only score of the first half, but Kenia Rangel added another in the 68th minute and Erika Hernandez scored in the 89th for the win. Panana had an 18-10 edge in shots.

The coming schedule:

∙ Group A:

4 October:
Panama 3, Trinidad & Tobago 0
United States 6, Mexico 0

7 October:
United States vs. Panama (5 p.m. Eastern time, on FS1 and UDN)
Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago
(Games at Shalen’s Stadium: Cary, North Carolina)

∙ Group B:

5 October:
Canada vs. Jamaica
Costa Rica vs. Cuba

8 October:
Costa Rica vs. Jamaica
Canada vs. Cuba
(Games at H-E-B Park: Edinburg, Texas)

The top two teams out of each group will advance to the semifinals at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.the stakes in this tournament are high: the top three teams will qualify directly to the 2019 World Cup, with a fourth team moving into a play-off, with that winner to qualify.

All of the tournament games will be shown on FS1 or FS2, as well as Univision. The semis will be on 14 October and the finals on 17 October.

The U.S. now has an unbeaten streak of 22 (19-0-3) games since a loss to Australia in mid-2017. In 2018, the U.S. women are 12-0-2 and have outscored their opponents, 42-10. The U.S. women are now 35-1-1 all-time vs. Mexico.

This is the 10th edition of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, first held in 1991. The U.S. has dominated the event, winning in 1991-93-94-2000-02-06-14 and taking the bronze medal in 2010. All-time, the American women have now compiled a 28-1-0 record in this tournament, losing only in 2010 and did not compete in 1999 as an automatic qualifier for the World Cup as the host country. Canada won the 1998 and 2010 tournaments.

Look for the scores here.