U-21 USWNT Open 2024 JPAC with Hard Fought Win Over Uruguay

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SURREY, BC, Canada – On a clear, sunny day at Tamanawis Park in Surrey, Canada, the No. 7 U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team played their first match of the 2024 Junior Pan American Championships against No. 23 Uruguay. A stalemate at halftime, both USA and Uruguay found a goal in the third, but it was the Junior Eagles who found the game-winner in the fourth quarter.

With the win, Allan Law picked up his first win as head coach of the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team.

“I’m very proud of our group, winning the first game of a tournament is vitally important,” said Law. “With half of the team earning their 1st cap for the u21 team, it’s even more impressive. There are a few key areas we need to clean up, now we turn our attention to recovery, debrief and prepare for our game tomorrow versus Chile.”

From the start, it looked like it would be a close match between Uruguay and the Junior Eagles. Five minutes in, USA goalkeeper Natalie McKenna (Northport, N.Y.) had her first test in the cage, helping down a lifted ball and clearing it out wide. Olivia Bent-Cole (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Hope Rose (Dauphin, Pa.) worked down the lefthand side to try and create some forward momentum for USA but were unable get past the Uruguay defense. USA’s possession was mostly uninterrupted for the remainder of the quarter, sans a few chances, including a break down the side for Uruguay that was met by Josie Hollamon’s (Delmar, Del.) steady stick. The two sides would leave the first frame tied, 0-0.

Despite retaining a lot of the possession, the Junior Eagles were not able to connect on offense how they needed. At the 20-minute mark, Uruguay found their first penalty corner chance, which went wide off the stick of Bent-Cole at the flyer position. Back up on attack, USA’s Rose sent a strong shot from the top right of the circle that was saved by Uruguay’s goalkeeper.

In the midfield, Isabella Biano (Berlin, N.J.) made a few key step-ups to keep the ball up on USA’s attacking half. With 5 minutes remaining in the frame, the Junior eagles were hot on the attack, and earned a penalty corner chance. On the redo, Mia Schoenbeck (Langrange, Ky.) sent a shot that was deflected and saved in the air by a Uruguay defender. The red, white and blue kept up hard pressure, and with one minute remaining, USA won another set piece opportunity, but mishandled the reception. The two teams would enter the second half scoreless.

The third quarter was an eventful one. USA was determined to make more connections, knocking the ball around the backfield to open up a chance up field. The looks paid off, when 33 minutes in, the USA had another penalty corner chance. This time, the shot was blocked at the top by Uruguay’s defense. Finally, a minute later, the stalemate was broken, when USA’s Bent-Cole smartly pulled around Uruguay’s goalkeeper after she stepped out to try and block the shot. Now leading 1-0, the Junior Eagles kept up the pressure. A superb effort from Abigail Burnett (Zionsville, Pa.) on defense slowed down a complete breakaway from Uruguay’s attack, and soon USA were back on the offensive.

Stepping on to the field at an opportune time, Hollamon picked up the ball at midfield and dribbled all the way up into the circle, only to have her shot blocked by the Uruguay goalkeeper. In a quick transition, Urugauy was on the attack, and Pilar Lemoine sent in a high reverse shot into the net to even the score at 1-1. Soon after, on a Uruguay penalty corner, USA’s McKenna made a diving stick save with 3 minutes left to play in the quarter. Yet another quarter ended with the two teams tied.

It was anyone’s match to win in the fourth. Working in the circle, Daniela Mendez-Trendler (Reistertown, Md.) earned USA a penalty corner at 47 minutes in, and the shot found Heck but knocked off the goalpost and over the endline. Another set piece came just 2 minutes later, when Jans Croon’s (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) shot hit the goal post, was brought back in by Mia Abello (Houston, Texas), and finished in cage by Mendez-Trendler. With the goal, USA took a 2-1 lead.

Uruguay was back up in their attacking circle in no time, earning another penalty corner that was stopped by the USA defense. As the intensity continued, USA’s Bent-Cole and Urguay’s Jacinta Curutchague both earned a yellow card with 6 minutes remaining, while Uruguay earned a second yellow to put them down two players with 2 minutes to play.

The Junior Eagles will play their second game on Thursday, July 4, against Chile at 5:00 p.m. ET.

For more information regarding the 2024 Junior Pan American Championships, visit the event page.


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