Coming off its 1-0 stunner against Mexica, Costa Rica booked its place in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship semifinals with a 2-1 win over Jamaica at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois. Shirley Cruz and Raquel Rodriquez scored for Costa Rica, and Shakira Duncan scored for Jamaica.
With the win, Las Ticas are assured of finishing at least second in Group B. The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals.
Throughout the first half, Costa Rica held the bulk of possession and looked to find width by working the ball down its right side through Melissa Herrera. In the 15th minute, Jamaica’s Nicole McClure came up with a big save to deny Cruz’s wide-open shot in the box and kept her team in the game. Costa Rica’s possession and disciplined team defense nullified Jamaica’s speed, forcing attacking players to drop back into their own half.
Costa Rica created several chances in the first half, including a 42nd-minute Wendy Acosta header that hit the post, but couldn’t convert and both teams went into halftime deadlocked at 0-0.
Jamaica inserted Alexis Allen up top to start the second half and pressed to find the game’s first goal. The Reggae Girlz almost got it in the 52nd minute off a Monique Pryce in-swinging corner kick that called Costa Rican goalkeeper Dinnia Diaz into action. Diaz made the kick save off the line and did well to pounce on the ensuing loose ball.
Shirley Cruz converted the penalty kick in the 76th minute for Costa Rica after Raquel Rodriguez was brought down by Jamaican defender Nicole Campbell-Green.
Jamaica answered not more than 60 seconds later on a Shakira Duncan cross that drifted over Costa Rica’s Diaz and inside the far post.
Costa Rica continued to press down the right side and send in crosses, which Jamaica’s central defenders did well to clear.
In the 86th minute, Cruz created what would be the game-winner for Costa Rica with her run down the left to the end line and found second-half substitute Carolina Venegas, who laid it off to Raquel Rodriguez for the left-footed finish.
Costa Rica faces Martinique in the last game of group play on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., and will likely rest many starters since it’s already advanced to the semifinals. It will be a great opportunity to give minutes to less experienced players.
For Jamaica, the Reggae Girlz will face a Mexican side that defeated Martinique, 10-0, and must win to advance to the semifinals. Anything less, and it will be Mexico going through to the semifinals.