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U-21 USWNT Proceed to JPAC Semifinals After Win Over Canada

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SURREY, BC, Canada – The No. 7 U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team picked up their fourth win of the 2024 Junior Pan American Championships (JPAC) against host No. 15 Canada on Tuesday. It was a 4-1 victory for the Junior Eagles, who will move on to the semifinals.

"Canada is always a formidable opponent, and with the rivalry between us, we knew we had to work exceptionally hard to earn this win," said U-21 USWNT head coach Allan Law. "We're proud of our team's performance, effort, and the willingness to stay true to our identity while integrating new elements into our game. We are looking forward to tomorrow's game, knowing it will be another challenging and exciting encounter."

With the background energy of a host crowd, Canada began the match on the offensive. The pace picked up for the red, white and blue 3 minutes in when Ryleigh Heck (Ocean City, N.J.) snagged the ball away from a Canada defender and ran up to create a two-on-two on attack, eventually sending a shot wide. Canada made their way into their attacking circle after shortly after, and after saving the initial shot USA goalkeeper Alyssa Klebasko (Odenton, Md.) lost track of the ball, but was still able to make the second save.

USA was pushing up on attack after that, with looks from Olivia Bent-Cole (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Lucy Adams (Andover, Mass.) in the circle but no points to show. With a little over 5 minutes to play, Heck won a penalty corner chance for USA, but the shoot from Mia Schoenbeck (Langrange, Ky.) was deemed high. A long aerial ball from Josie Hollamon (Delmar, Del.) up to Ella Gaitan (Belvidere, N.J.) in the 12th minute created another good opportunity for USA that was without result. The last minute of the quarter wound down with the score tied at 0-0.

The second quarter was characterized by USA possession. In the 19th minute, a second set piece opportunity was won by the Junior Eagles, and after a sweep was sent wide, USA was back again shortly with another chance. This time the shot by Jans Croon (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) was saved by Canada’s goalkeeper.

Isabella Bianco (Berlin, N.J.) sent a good ball up to Bent-Cole, but the next connection was missed for USA. 27th minutes in there was another penalty corner for USA, but the shoots from both Bianco and Gaitan were blocked by Canada’s defense. One final penalty corner before halftime gave the red, white, and blue exactly what they were looking for. The shot was tipped up off a Canada defender’s stick, and caught out of the air by Heck, who sent it in to give USA a 1-0 lead.

Carrying their momentum into the second half, USA doubled their lead in the first 2 minutes. Heck dribbled around the Canada defense and took a shot, which was blocked but rebounded to Schoenbeck, who sent in a hard one-time that clanged the backboard. Now leading 2-0, Bent-Cole quickly took the ball up into the circle, where it was picked up by Adams who turned her hands quickly for a reverse shot that put USA up 3-0. After the whistle restarted play, Canada pushed up on attack, earning a set piece opportunity that resulted in a penalty stroke. Stella Malinowski converted on the chance for Canada, giving them a goal as USA now led 3-1.

A scramble by Canada’s defense in the 40th minute left open space in front of the net that Mia Myklebust (Los Gatos, Calif.) took advantage of, scoring the fourth goal for USA. The Junior Eagles finished out the frame on offense, taking their 4-1 lead into the final quarter.

USA, who held a large advantage on the number of set piece chances throughout the game, conceded the first of the fourth quarter at the 50-minute mark. The shot from Canada ricocheted off the flat stick of Mia Abello (Houston, Texas), and after the long hit, USA was transitioning quickly back to attack. Bradford sent a ball up to Mendez-Trendler, who was obstructed to earn USA their own set piece opportunity. USA continued with calm composure, as shots and chances were stopped by the Canada defense. A circle entry from Canada in the 57th minute was shut down by Natalie McKenna (Northport, N.Y.), now in goal for USA. The red, white, and blue closed out the match with a 4-1 victory.

After finishing the round-robin in second place, the Junior Eagles will take on third ranked No. 16 Chile on July 10 at 9:00 p.m. ET in the semifinals.

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

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