CHESTER, Pa. – Mexico sealed its place at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Sunday with a 4-2 win in extra-time over Trinidad and Tobago at PPL Park.
Two extra-time goals from Veronica Charlyn Corral eventually gave the Mexicans some breathing space after a brave performance by the Soca Princesses in the second half. Randy Waldrum’s side came within 13 minutes of victory before Monica Ocampo tied the score at 2-2 in regulation.
T&T has one final opportunity to claim its first World Cup appearance via a two-legged playoff against Ecuador.
Corral put the Mexicans ahead on 104 minutes when T&T defender Brianna Ryce misjudged a cross from Kenti Robles. El Tri’s central striker took the ball out of the air before stabbing it past goalkeeper Kimika Forbes from six yards.
Mexico’s passage to Canada was complete two minutes into the second extra-time period when Corral raced away from Ryce on the right of T&T’s penalty box to steer a low shot inside Forbes’ far corner from 12 yards.
The prize on offer belied the insipid fare served up by both sides in the first half. Twenty minutes had drifted by before the somnolent atmosphere was briefly disturbed by a small cluster of T&T fans when their team forced a corner kick that ultimately yielded nothing.
Mexico’s opener on 24 minutes prompted a louder response from the hundreds of fans in the stadium at that point during the first of Sunday’s two CONCACAF Women’s Championship games. Sandra Stephany Mayor took a pass from Corral inside the penalty area before shifting the ball to her right to create space for a strike at goal. Mayor dispatched her shot inside Forbes’ far post before defender Arin King could close her down.
El Tri put together a sharp move on 33 minutes when Ocampo found Mayor bursting down the inside-right channel with a raking cross-field switch. Mayor turned the ball inside for Teresa Noyola to bend a shot wide of Forbes’ left post.
T&T captain Maylee Attin Johnson left the field on a stretcher on 38 minutes after a challenge by Corral that earned the Mexican forward a yellow card. The Soca Princesses battled on with 10 players until Johnson returned in the final minute of the first half.
Most of the entertainment in the opening period came from a handful of vocal, flag-toting T&T fans dancing in the stand. The second half commenced amid a noisier backdrop as American supporters arrived ahead of the championship game against Costa Rica. The added din inspired the Soca Princesses to find an equalizer on 57 minutes.
Khadidra Debesette found Ahkeela Mollon in space on the right of Mexico’s penalty area. Her shot drifted toward the far post where Kennya Cordner raced in to bravely head home from close range.
Mexico almost found an immediate response on two occasions. T&T goalkeeper Forbes blocked Corral’s effort from a tight angle before flapping at a corner kick to leave the ball bobbling around in the 6-yard box. Half-time substitute Lydia Nayeli Rangel somehow contrived to scoop her shot against the bar before the Caribbean side scrambled the ball to safety.
El Tri goalkeeper Pamela Tajonar had to be quickly out of her penalty area on 67 minutes after Cordner tried to release Mollon with a long ball behind Mexico’s defense.
Corral forced Forbes into another smart stop at her near post on 72 minutes after skipping around the outside of T&T’s back four.
The game exploded into life in the closing stages when both sides traded goals within a minute. Mariah Shade edged T&T into the lead on 77 minutes after Ryce and Alina Garciamendez challenged for Cordner’s near post cross. Shade fastened onto the loose ball to scuff it beyond goalkeeper Tajonar.
Mexico’s immediate riposte saw Mayor scampering to the end line on the right of the penalty box before digging out a cross for Ocampo to nod home at the back post.
Ocampo almost put the Mexicans 3-2 ahead two minutes later after she managed to get around Forbes, but her shot found the side netting from a tough angle.
El Tri was on the front foot again. Corral’s free kick dipped over the wall toward Forbes’ near post, forcing the goalkeeper to push the ball behind for a corner kick.
Forbes resorted to slapstick a few minutes later after receiving a yellow card for a collision with an opponent after the ball had gone out of bounds. The goalkeeper collapsed inside her 6-yard box after a brush with Veronica Perez that also saw the Mexican midfielder being cautioned.
Mexican head coach Leonardo Cuellar had made six changes from his side’s 3-0 loss to the United States in the semi-final. That freshness proved critical in extra-time. Corral’s strikes exposed the lethargy in T&T legs after the team’s penalty shootout loss to Costa Rica on Friday.
Trinidad and Tobago (4-3-3): Kimika Forbes –Hutchinson (Superville 93), King, Ryce, Hinds – Attin Johnson, Debesette (St. Louis 105), Karyn Forbes (Walker 68) – Cordner, Shade, Mollon
Mexico (4-2-3-1): Tajonar – Sierra, Garciamendez, Murillo, Robles – Nieto, Perez (Garza 116) – Ocampo (Samarzich 105), Noyola (Rangel 48), Mayor – Corral
Oct. 24, 2014 — USA Reaches FIFA Women’s World Cup With Win Over Mexico