Caribbean representative Dominican Republic ended their Concacaf Women's Gold Cup campaign winless, as they went down 0-3 to Argentina, while Mexico stunned tournament favourites United States 2-0, in the final round of Group A fixtures at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, on Monday.

The results saw Mexico finishing tops in the group on seven points, with United States second on six, while Argentina improved their chances of being one of the two best third-place teams to progress to the quarterfinals, as they end third on four points. Dominican Republic finished without a point and conceded 16 goals.

Dominican Republic vs Argentina

With two third place spots up for grabs at that point, both Dominican Republic and Argentina started purposefully and with some intensity as they went in search of their first win.  The fact that Argentina held Mexico to a goalless stalemate to start the tournament, while Dominican Republic lost 0-8 to the same opponent, meant the South Americans were a bit more confident, and they put that on display in the early exchanges.

They pushed back their Spanish-speaking Caribbean rivals into a defensive posture and fired a few warning shots from a distance, before they inevitably broke the deadlock in the 30th minute. Midfielder Dalila Ippolito fired home from a one-on-one situation with Dominican Republic's goalkeeper Paloma Pena, after the opponents defence failed to take care of possession.

Argentina doubled their lead in the second half through Celeste Dos Santos's 76th-minute effort, which polished off a tidy one-two combination with Mariana Larroquette.

And the win was capped by Maricel Pereyra in the 90+4, who fired home from just outside the 18-yard area.

United States vs Mexico

The feature contest of the group ended with Mexico securing a historic 2-0 win over four-time World champions United States to take top honours.

It is the first Mexico win against the United States since 2010, a span of 16 matches. The two goals also snap a streak of 33 straight matches in which the United States kept a clean sheet in Concacaf competitions.

Both teams gave as good as they got in end-to-end action, with strikers Sophia Smith of United States and Mexico's Maria Sanchez testing the goalkeepers Esthefanny Barreras and Alyssa Naeher, who both proved equal to the task.

Mexico eventually found the go-ahead goal in the 38th minute when Jaqueline Ovalle capitalized on a defensive error by Becky Sauerbrunn and fired past the hapless Naeher, who was left for dead after advancing off her line.

Karla Nieto went close to doubling the lead on the stroke of half time, but her well-struck shot from just outside the 18-yard box, rattled the crossbar.

United States went in search of the elusive equaliser, but their hunt ended fruitless, as Lindsey Horan fired a freekick over the crossbar in the 56th, while Trinity Rodman's 89th-minute effort went just wide of the upright.

And if that wasn't bad enough, Mayra Pelayo rubbed salt in the United States wounds in the 90+5, when she rifled home a right-footer from outside the box, that lodge in the top right corner, to gift Mexico an historic victory.

 

 

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.

 

Footballers who are the victims of discrimination could have the opportunity to meet with the alleged perpetrator as part of a “first of its kind” restorative policy being launched by Major League Soccer and its players.

There are more eyes on football in the United States and Canada than ever before, thanks in no small part to Lionel Messi’s blockbuster move to Inter Miami last summer.

Ever-evolving MLS and the Major League Soccer Players Association have now launched a new jointly aligned anti-discrimination policy ahead of next week’s 2024 season kick-off.

The league says the policy “is the first of its kind in professional sports in that it is centred on restorative practices, prioritising education, prevention, training, and cultural awareness”.

Sola Winley, MLS’ chief engagement and inclusion officer, said: “To bring something like this to bear is no small task.

“It takes not just a lot of smart minds, but a lot of big hearts to think outside of the box, to build a culture that’s rooted in dignity and respect.

“And to build a culture that can be a leader not just in the soccer and football landscape around the world, but in the sports landscape and beyond.”

Eric Harrington, MLSPA general counsel, said: “By embracing culturally inclusive training to prevent discrimination and restorative practices to remedy it when it occurs, we can prevent discrimination and support players who are harmed by it while providing a pathway of healing for everyone.”

MLS, the MLSPA and non-profit Black Players for Change worked together on the development of the policy and a new intercultural awareness training programme, which is required for all players and staff.

New England Revolution goalkeeper and Black Players for Change president Earl Edwards Jr said: “All players deserve to play this game free of discrimination and to have our cultures welcomed, included and respected.

“This innovative policy is a significant step in building a more inclusive game for all of us and for setting an example for all of sports.”

Under the new policy, restorative plans include the option for an alleged offender to make amends with those harmed by their conduct.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Black Players For Change (@bpcmls)

 

Furthermore, those that accept responsibility and partake in a restorative plan will face less severe discipline from the league than if they deny committing the act and are subsequently found to be untruthful or misleading.

“The players have an option to participate if they want to,” Winley added. “We’re not forcing that.

“Our hope is that there’s pathways to the players coming together, to apologise, for the players to hear the work that others have went through. We create that space and that environment for that to happen.”

‘Playing As One’ workshops ran during pre-season, with MLS greats involved in helping to, among other things, explain banned terms and develop cultural awareness in a league with 80-plus nationalities.

“What we’ve decided is that the best way for us to do that is to build bridges of understanding, have conversations that are based on curiosity,” Winley said.

“To give grace to people when they make mistakes but, to be clear, we are moving from a position of strength and not from a position of weakness. And to be compassionate doesn’t mean that you’re weak.

“It’s easy just to suspend people. The hard work is in the rehabilitation and reintegrating, and we have made a commitment to do the hard work.

“That might not always be preferred in a court of public opinion, but if we’re true to our values and if we’re true to the goals that we have, then we feel good about the process and feel very good about what the outcome of this will be.”

Organizers of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 recently held high-level meetings with various stakeholders as the preparations for the global sporting event intensify. Officials from regional organizations – The Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS), The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and the Organization of American States (OAS) were just some of the main agencies in attendance, in addition to the Chief Medical Officers and Commissioners of Police from CARICOM member states hosting the historic cricket event.

The two-day summit was held at the Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre on February 7 and 8, with over 60 delegates discussing and contributing to the primary topics of security, safety, medical and public health for the world event, in addition to related areas of accreditation, logistics, venue preparedness, technology, cyber-security, and match-day management.

Based on the outcomes from the summit, the partnerships between medical, health, safety, and security will be crucial elements towards the successful hosting of the tournament which will be played from June 1-29.  Fans from around the world will be in attendance for what will be the biggest event ever staged in the region.

K.J Singh, Head of Operations for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 in the West Indies and USA, said he was extremely pleased with the level of participation, information sharing, and commitments made by national, regional, and international agencies, which will be left as a legacy not only for the hosting of cricket but other major events in the region.

“This will be the biggest event the region has ever undertaken, and to ensure its success it will require the collaboration and operational integration of many key regional and international agencies, especially since the tournament is being hosted for the first time jointly between two regions in the southern hemisphere. The key objective of the summit was to bring the main security, safety, medical, and health stakeholders together, with a focus on sharing information, insight, experiences, best practices, and resources,” Singh said.
 

“Coming out of the summit, we are all unified on what is required and next steps to be taken to ensure that we meet all the minimum requirements to host this mega event. Commitments have been garnered by the host nations and supporting regional and international agencies to provide essential resources, joint training exercises, and other collaborative preparedness initiatives to host member countries and tournament stakeholders. With these next steps and commitments in place, we are confident that the region will be ready to deliver international-standard safety, care, and service to all tournament contingents, including the thousands of spectators, both visiting and local, positioned to attend the match at this historic world cricket event," he added.

West Indies, who hosted the event in 2010, will hold matches at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (Antigua and Barbuda), Kensington Oval (Barbados), Guyana National Stadium (Guyana), Daren Sammy Cricket Ground (Saint Lucia), Arnos Vale (Saint Vincent and The Grenadines) and Brian Lara Cricket Academy (Trinidad and Tobago).

Cricket West Indies is the official host of the event, with an entity T20 World Cup Inc. established to administer local delivery within the USA to support the growth of the sport in the country.

This year's ICC Men’s T20 World Cup will be the largest in the tournament’s history, with 20 international teams playing 55 matches across nine host locations. It is the first time USA will host matches at a T20 World Cup, with 16 First Round matches split between Nassau County International Cricket Stadium (New York), Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium (Dallas), and Broward County Stadium (Lauderhill).

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.