Soccer  > General Soccer  > Leroux carries United States to Women's U-20 crown
January 3, 2011, 12:45 PM
It was her sixth and, unquestionably, most important goal of the 2010 CONCACAF Under-20 Women's Championship.

With three minutes left in the January final against Mexico, U.S. striker Sydney Leroux ran onto a ball from Kristie Mewis, took a touch and raced past defender Marilyn Diaz. Her twisting, effort from the left edge of the area near the byline squeezed between goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago and the crossbar.

It was the game's only goal and it clinched a second CONCACAF U-20 title for the USA.

"I was in absolute shock," Leroux said. "I was so excited I put my hands in the air and 'AAHHHH'. I screamed. It was the same excitement as when I scored in the World Cup."

The Golden Ball winner at the 2008 Under-20 Women's World Cup was a constant threat throughout the competition, and seems destined to join the American senior women's legacy of strikers that already includes Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach.

"She's one of the most competitive people I've ever been around," U.S. coach Jill Eliis said. "It doesn't matter what the odds or adversity, she's going to find a way.

"It's a great trait to have on a team that's trying to win a championship."

The title was the cap to a tournament in Guatemala that sent the Americans, Mexico and Costa Rica to the World Cup.
The United States customarily breezed through the first round with three victories and outscoring its opponents 12-1, allowing only a solitary goal to Mexico.

Mexico claimed the other semifinal place from Group B with victories over Trinidad and Jamaica, earning a semifinal date against Canada - which reached the knockout round with its perennial staunch defense.

Costa Rica, which suffered its only loss in the group stage to Canada 1-0, earned the last semifinal berth, and was rewarded with a match against the United States.

In its semifinal, Mewis and Teresa Noyola scored 10 minutes apart in the second half to give the United States a 2-0 lead. It was enough despite 16-year-old Raquel Rodriguez Cedeno's second goal of the tournament (and 10th including qualifying) that pulled Costa Rica with one in the 77th minute.

Mexico claimed its third straight trip to the World Cup an extra-time victory over Canada, thanks to an uncharacteristic blunder by Canadian goalkeeper Cynthia LeBlanc.

A seemingly innocent corner kick by Veronica Charlyn Corral slipped through the hands of LeBlanc - who had allowed only one goal in three previous games, hit off her face and into the net despite a desperate effort to swat the ball away.

Costa Rica became the first team outside of North America to earn a place at the Under-20 Women's World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Canada in the third-place game. Katherine Alvarado's 19th minute goal stung Canada, which failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time.

In Germany, both Mexico and the United States exited at the quarterfinal stage, while Costa Rica failed to make it out of its group.
 
January 7, 2011  12:06 PM ET

It looks like as one legend retires another one is stepping up to take her place!

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