All México needed was to beat their biggest rivals for just the third time in history and for Haïti to win or Jamaica to win by four goals or more, and they’d have a chance to play in for the 2023 World Cup despite a poor showing in the 2022 Concacaf W Championship. Jamaica won by four, but despite their best efforts México couldn’t get a goal and lost 1-0 on the evening. The match was marred with controversy with several questionable calls, including on the game’s lone goal.
The visitors got the first opportunity of the match less than a minute in when A Sophia Smith shot from distance went in on goal, but Itzel González easily got in front of it and held on. México looked tentative in the early goings, turning the ball over often and scrambling to get back on defense. Luckily their opponents weren’t as sharp as may be expected, and didn’t do a whole lot. Stephany Mayor got the home side’s first chance of the night, but her shot from distance went wide of its intended target. México was forced to defend a couple of corner kicks early on, but luckily for them they were able to defend them well.
México dodged a bullet in the 14th minute when Midge Purce got a ball in and shot, but thankfully it hit off of the far post and bounced out of harm’s way. The game got pretty physical at points, usually without much scrutiny from referee Myriam Marcotte. One of the times Marcotte whistled a foul conceded a free kick to the visitors, but México kept the actual chances to a minimum and González was eventually able to collect the ball and get an offside flag on the play for good measure.
México was awarded a free kick in the 30th minute that went a little long and rolled out over the end line. Replays showed it may have been handled in the box by the defense, but no VAR replay was given and play continued. Sophia Smith had a shot in the 39th after corralling a ball in the box, but it was pushed high over the crossbar. The visitors got a break in the 42nd minute when María Sánchez was hauled down by Purce with no call. Purce ran down the right flank and crossed it, but Lindsey Horan’s shot was stopped easily by González. González came out a minute later to clear a ball and was run over by Smith, but Marcotte again decided nothing untoward had happened and kept the cards in her pocket. México played their best half of the tournament thus far, managing to go into the locker room tied with no score.
México got off to a good start in the second half with an immediate counterattack ,but the trailing run from Carolina Jaramillo never arrived. In the 47th minute Horan was played in but González was there to grab the ball, and the play was whistled for being well offside. México did well in the 51st to clear a corner kick, not conceding a good chance to the visitors. In the 55th minute Kelly O’Hara took a shot from distance that swerved well wide of the net. In the 58th minute México faced a flurry of chances, but the defense held and González was eventually able to get a long distance shot and hold onto it. Sophia Smith took a shot in the 59th from the left side box but González stopped it rather easily.
México had another good chance in the 63rd when Jackie Ovalle drove into the box, but the opposition was able to hold on and clear the ball. Kristie Mewis took a hopeful long range shot in the 68th minute, but it went wide of the mark. Megan Rapinoe also took a long-range hopeful shot, but it too missed the mark. In the 71st minute Ovalle went in to a challenge on Rose Lavelle and caught her with a boot. After a VAR review, Marcotte pulled out a red card and Ovalle’s evening was cut short.
The visitors added pressure on, and in the 79th a Rapinoe corner kick found Alex Morgan in the box, but her touch sent the ball wide of the goal. México kept trying to find an open runner despite being down a player, but all too often they were let down by heavy touches and heavy legs. Both teams suffered from this, but the visitors had the luxury of having their tickets to the next round already punched.
In the 85th minute Rapinoe hit a cross into the box. González went up for it and collided with Purce, but Purce’s header wasn’t enough to push it over the line and González was able to collect it well before it crossed the line. México kept pushing for a goal however and in the 87th Jimena López got into the box and hit a shot but Casey Murphy fell on it to stop the chance. México came back down the field and Joseline Montoya sent one in on frame that Murphy stopped.
It all came crashing down in the 90th however when a pass into the box went to Emily Sonnett in the box. Sonnett deflected it back to Kristie Mewis, who knocked it in past González. Despite Sonnett looking like she was possibly offside, Marcotte declined to review it with VAR and allowed the goal. Despite eight minutes of stoppage, México couldn’t pull one back let alone two, and their 2023 World Cup dreams came to a disappointing end.
United States: Casey Murphy; Emily Sonnett, Becky Sauerbrunn, Naomi Girma, Kelley O’Hara (Sophia Huerta, 64’); Alex Morgan (Taylor Kornieck, 80’), Andi Sullivan (Kristie Mewis, 64’), Lindsey Horan (Rose Lavelle, 64’); Ashley Sanchez, Midge Purce, Sophia Smith (Megan Rapinoe, 64’)
The XI to close out Group A.— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) July 12, 2022
México: Itzel González; Kenti Robles (Bianca Sierra, 75’), Casandra Montero, Cristina Ferral, Jimena López; Alexia Delgado (Maricarmen Reyes, 75’), Diana García; Carolina Jaramillo (Jackie Ovalle, 61’), Stephany Mayor, María Sánchez (Joseline Montoya, 85’); Licha Cervantes (Diana Ordoñez, 61’)
Scoring: United States - Kristie Mewis (90’); México - None
Disciplinary: United States - None; México - Cristina Ferral (Yellow - 34’), Kenti Robles (Yellow - 67’), Jackie Ovalle (Red - 73’)