It wasn't the best debut for Team Bahamas, drawing powerhouse United States of America (USA) for the first match in the North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Under-17 Women's Championships, played in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Since this is the first appearance in the final round of the association for the national squad, the team was described as the 'underdogs' - a label placed on Team Bahamas before the match started. With this in mind, USA kicked into high gear from the whistle. The first score was netted 38 seconds into the game. The USA never looked back after that, shutting out Team Bahamas 10-0 yesterday.
American Summer Green banged in the first goal, one of five scored by her in the match. The second goal came around the two-minute marker, the third and fourth followed shortly after. The USA was in full stride after the fifth goal, and were looking to make space around the 31st minute. The constant attacks by the USA forced goal keeper Cori Strachan to step up and defend the box. Despite the several shots saved the relentless opponents still managed to find a way to score.
While USA camped around their goal box, Team Bahamas rarely made it to theirs. The more experienced American team made sure to limit the amount of times the ball traveled over the half line, by applying the pressure. Since they weren't able to clear the ball USA took possession almost immediately, and their goal keeper did little work in the back field. Proving to the other teams in the stands that The Bahamas has a difficult time playing the ball out of trouble.
A free kick was awarded to The Bahamas after a hand ball was called. The shot sailed right into the hands of the USA goal keeper. That free kick came in the second half. Around the 53rd minute captain Lauren Haven was substituted out and The Bahamas went into a 4-5-1 formation. Not demoralized by the score, the team rushed forward, putting up a good fight. The forwards were a lot more active during that time.
By the 58th minute it was a new game plan for the USA. Instead of trying to score with ground balls, the team sailed the ball into the air, over Strachan's head. One shot was deflected off Strachan's hands and bounced into the back of the net. The final three goals were scored that way. The Bahamas is playing out of Group B with the United States, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago. Up next for The Bahamas is Mexico on Saturday, and Trinidad and Tobago on Monday. The Bahamas made history by advancing to the final round. The one game win lined them up for the historic feat.
During the run, the under-17 girls squad now have a 3-3 win/loss record. They advanced to the finals with a 3-2 win/loss record in the Caribbean qualifying round by defeating Antigua 10-0, Bermuda 2-0 and Guyana 1-0. The two losses in the previous rounds were handed to them by Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.
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