Shootout Victory Over Chile Sends U-21 USWNT to JPAC Final

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SURREY, BC, Canada – The No. 7 U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team took on No. 15 Chile in an extremely tight 2024 Junior Pan American Championships (JPAC) semifinal match. After trailing 1-0 for 45 minutes, the Junior Eagles scored in the final minute, and went on to win the match in a thrilling shootout.

"We are delighted with the result," said U-21 USWNT head coach Allan Law. "The character and values the team displayed in the second half and through the shootout truly reflect the hard work we've put in. To see it all come together under pressure is a testament to the dedication of the team and the legacy of those who have come before us. Experiencing a game in this manner and coming through such an extremely pressurized situation is an enormously valuable experience we can rarely replicate. We are excited to face Argentina again in the final."

In this rematch of last year’s JPAC semifinal, Chile looked like they would usurp the reigning champions after falling last year. Chile came out firing, forcing USA to spend the first few minutes in their defensive 25. USA finally found their first chance up the field at minute 4, forcing Chile’s goalkeeper to make a save. Chile was right back on attack minutes later, as they earned the first penalty corner of the match. A slip to the right duped the USA defense, but Alyssa Klebasko (Odenton, Md.) made the save.

Chile earned another set piece chance with 4 minutes left in the quarter, and the shot was sent wide. Chile had USA a bit on their heels for the first quarter then finally broke through with a goal in the 13th minute. The Junior Eagles would need to chase a 1-0 deficit heading into the second quarter.

The red, white and blue were looking for any offensive chances in the second frame. Abby Burnett (Zionsville, Pa.) made an interception on a Chile aerial up the field, looking to create some momentum for USA around the 20-minute mark, but Chile was right back with the ball. USA continued to have trouble with the quick Chile attack, forced to play more defense than they’d like. At the 22nd minute, USA finally found a chance when Olivia Bent-Cole (Philadelphia, Pa.) earned a penalty corner, but the ball was cleared out by the Chile defense, who broke out in a big transition down the field.

Despite a few brief moments of possession for USA, Chile had taken advantage of lapses in their structure throughout the quarter. USA would again be looking for the equalizer, as the quarter ended with Chile still leading 1-0.

It was a similar story to open the third frame, as Chile continued to put the pressure on and USA desperately searched for their first goal. Halfway through the frame, Hope Rose (Dauphin, Pa.) dribbled through a group of Chile defenders, but the pass forward was picked off and cleared out. The Junior Eagles were still struggling to find connections, but they were getting more offensive opportunities towards the end of the quarter.

Both teams began to get a little frantic and testy as the final frame was underway. At minute 48, USA’s Josie Hollamon (Delmar, Del.) displayed excellent patience in the defensive circle as a Chile attacker made moves looking for a penalty corner. Again, the connections up field for the Junior Eagles were not being found. A minute later, with Bent-Cole and Rose working up in the attacking 25, USA won a penalty corner, but the shot was saved. Things were getting fraught for the red, white, and blue, as the clock kept ticking down. A ball from Jans Croon (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) up to Rose with 8 minutes remaining looked promising, but the pass into the circle from Rose was intercepted.

With 5 minutes left in the match, Chile earned a penalty corner opportunity, but they were unable to convert. It was with 3 minutes remaining when the USA coaching staff opted to pull Klebasko out of goal to put an extra field player on. Immediately following this decision, USA earned a penalty corner, which Chile immediately reviewed, and the call was overturned. With 2 minutes left, USA earned a chance with a penalty corner, but still there was no goal from the Junior Eagles. Now with a little less than a minute to find the equalizer, USA used their referral on a play, looking for a penalty corner call. The referral paid off big time for USA, who were granted a penalty corner. Croon took a straight shot that went into the cage to tie the match at 1-1 in the final 45 seconds. Like last year, the game’s winner would be determined in shootouts.

Chile would shoot first, with Klebasko continuing in net for USA. Chile made their first try, while Ryleigh Heck (Ocean City, N.J.) was denied for USA. Klebasko got the next save, and Rose tied it up for USA at 1-1. After Klebasko initially saved Chile’s third chance, the Chile attacker was given a re-award, which was scored. A composed Lucy Adams (Andover, Mass.) was third up for USA, finishing and keeping it tied at 2-2 for USA. Chile’s fourth attempt was denied, and Dani Mendez-Trendler (Reistertown, Md.) lifted the ball in to give USA the 3-2 lead after four rounds. Chile’s fifth try was good, leaving it up to Isabella Bianco (Berlin, N.J.), who was unable to get it done.

USA was up first on attack for the sudden victory shootouts. Rose made in for USA, and Klebasko denied Chile’s attempt, giving USA a 4-3 shootout victory.

The Junior Eagles will play in the gold medal match on Friday, July 12 at 8:00 p.m. ET against No. 2 Argentina. When the two met last year in the JPAC final, USA claimed a shootout victory.

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


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