After suffering defeat in their opening Group A contest against United States, Caribbean representative Dominican Republic will be hoping for better fortunes when they tackle Mexico at the inaugural Concacaf Women's Gold Cup at Dignity Healthy Sports Park in Carson, California, on Friday.

Despite the 0-5 scoreline, Dominican Republic certainly held their own against the four-time World Champions United States for a large portion of the match, and should be aiming to replicate a similar show of fortitude, to possibly take points off Mexico.

Though it is easier said than done, especially bearing in mind that the lone meeting between the two teams in 2012, ended 7-0 in favour of Mexico, the Spanish-speaking Caribbean team will fancy their chances of upsetting the proverbial applecart.

The likes of Kathrynn Gonzalez, Lucia Marte, Brianne Reed and Paloma Pena are expected to carry the fight against El Tricolor. 

Mexico, like Dominican Republic, are hunting their first goal and, by extension first win of this historic tournament, as they were held to a goalless stalemate by Argentina. They will be intent on leaving that frustrating opening contest, in which Rebeca Bernal dashed a penalty, behind and begin their charge towards the knockout stage.

With a possible top-of-the-table clash with United States to come, Mexican attackers Bernal, Maria Sanchez and Greta Espinoza will be hoping to get into their scoring rhythm from as early as possible.

Argentina vs. United States

The United States will be aiming to make it two wins in as many games, when they square off against Argentina in Friday’s feature contest of the double-header.

That 5-0 win over Dominican Republic provided the solid platform on which they can build for the remainder of the tournament. Two of the stars of that affair were Olivia Moultrie and Midge Purce.

Moultrie, in her first start, bagged a brace on nine shots, while Purce was a never-ending source of playmaking, as she served up two assists. Lynn Williams, with a hat-trick, and decorated striker Alex Morgan, with a solitary strike, also got in on the act, and their confidence will be high heading into the Argentina clash.

In previous encounters between the two nations, United States were 6-0 winners at the SheBelieves Cup, and they also registered a 7-0 victory in a 2014 friendly. Both teams also locked horns at the Pan American Games, with United States proving too good on three of those occasions.

However, Argentina will try to change their fortunes this time around, with Camila Gomez Ares and Yamila Rodriguez expected to prove menacing to the opponents defence. The stalemate with Mexico would certainly have done the South American's confidence a world of good heading into this daunting encounter.

After clinching a 1-0 preliminary phase win over Guyana, Caribbean representative Dominican Republic will bow into group stage action at the inaugural Concacaf Women's Gold Cup on Tuesday evening.

However, their task will be as tough as it can get to kick off a tournament, as they are up against four-time World Champions United States in the feature contest of a Group A double-header at the Dignity Health Sports Park. Mexico and Argentina will lock horns in the curtain-raiser, with the games scheduled for 7:30pm and 10:15pm Eastern Standard Time.

United States vs. Dominican Republic

Having won all there is to win in the Concacaf region and also on the world stage, there is no doubt that United States, the reigning Concacaf Women's Championship title holders, start as one of the favourites, if not the overwhelming favourite to become the first champions of this Women's Gold Cup. That basically underscores the difficulty of Dominican Republic's assignment to get things underway.

Rated as the most decorated team in the world, United States qualified to the Women's Gold Cup after topping the 2022 Concacaf Women's Championship, with victory in all five games played. They’re returning to the main stage after they exited the 2023 Women's World Cup at the Round of 16 stage and will be under the guidance of interim coach Twila Kilgore, until new Head Coach Emma Hayes takes the reins.

With this new leadership, United States women's outfit will try to get another Concacaf trophy under their belt, and players like striker Sophia Smith, who has 15 goals within major tournaments like the World Cup and Women's Championship, will be integral to their chances of achieving the feat.

Midfielder Lindsey Horan, who captained the team in Australia/New Zealand, where she scored two goals, and was one of the difference-makers during the qualifying tournament, will also be a key factor in a stacked United States team.

Still, Dominican Republic will be optimistic of giving a good account of themselves, as rubbing shoulders with United States will certainly give their women's programme a great deal of confidence going forward.

In fact, the Spanish-speaking Caribbean women have grown in confidence since their Gold Cup qualifying run, where they amassed five wins and a solitary loss in six League B games, with 24 goals to their credit. The likes of Kathrynn González, who scored the banger against Guyana in the preliminary, and Mia Asenjo, who had nine shots on Saturday, will be key to Dominican Republic's chances of possibly finding the net.

Goalkeeper Paloma Pena, who made key saves against Guyana, will be hoping to repeat her clean sheet feat on this occasion.

 

Mexico vs. Argentina 

Prior to the United States and Dominican Republic clash, Mexico and Argentina will square off. The two are familiar with each other, having shared the pitch at the Pan American Games, where Mexico won 2-0 in the semi-finals to improve to an overall record to four wins and a loss against Argentina.

Under Head Coach Pedro Lopez, Mexico registered victory in all four games in Group A of League A, and with the disappointment of missing last year's World Cup still fresh in their minds, they will be hoping to make amends to an extent, with a deep run in this tournament.

Players like Maria Sanchez, who scored two goals and had the most shots (13), and Natalia Mauleon, who made an impression with the Under-17 and Under-20 National Teams, will again be aiming to make an impact as they did in the qualifiers.

Argentina, who placed third at the CONMEBOL Copa America Femenina in 2022, with four wins and two losses, will be intent of showing their class to get a win on North American soil.

Head Coach German Portanova has generational talent in players like Yamila Rodriguez, who was the top scorer of the 2022 Copa America with six goals. Another Argentinian sensation is Sophia Braun, who got on the scoresheet at last year's World Cup.

 

Despite missing out on qualification to the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup, Caribbean side Haiti had something to celebrate from their failed Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship campaign, as striker Lourdjina Etienne was named Player of the Tournament, in Mexico.

Etienne, was instrumental in Haiti getting to the semi-finals, as she accounted for eight of the French-speaking Caribbean nation’s nine goals in the tournament, the last of which came in a 1-4 defeat to Canada in the third-place playoff.

The sensational Etienne, first scored both goals in a 2-1 win over Costa Rica, followed by a four-timer in their 5-3 triumph over El Salvador. She then scored both goals for Haiti in the knockout stage, as they lost 1-7 to eventually champions United States in the semi-finals and surrendered the lead in their third-place playoff loss to Canada.

United States, who clinched their sixth hold –fourth-consecutively – on the Concacaf Under-17 Women’s title, headlined the standout performances over the two weeks at, both the individual and collectively. Along with their overall honours, they also copped the tournament’s Fair Play award, while striker Kennedy Fuller took the Top Scorer award.

Fuller was as prolific as a young player can be, as she started the tournament with a five-goal performance in a 13-0 group stage win over Panama. She then followed that up with a goal in the 5-0 win over Canada in their group stage top-of-the-table clash. Fuller was just as effective in the knockout round, where she secured a brace in the 7-1 semi-final win over Haiti to give to end with eight goals for the tournament.