GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala -- The United States qualified for the women's Under-20 World Cup by beating Costa Rica 2-1 Thursday in the first semifinal of the regional championships for North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Kristie Mewis and Teresa Noyola scored second-half goals to send the United States to the July 13-Aug. 1 tournament in Germany.
The United States will play Canada or Mexico for the CONCACAF title.
The U.S. is the 10th country to make the World Cup, along with the hosts, England, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, and New Zealand.
On Rachel Quon's inswinging free kick in the 60th minute, Mewis sliced in between two defenders and just beat goalkeeper Priscilla Tapia to the ball, rising in traffic to redirect her header into the lower right corner from 6 yards out.
Noyola's goal also came after a foul. Sydney Leroux was chopped down just outside the penalty arc, and Noyola drilled a 23-yard kick over the wall and into the left corner.
The U.S. pressed for a third, but Costa Rica pulled a goal back in the 77th minute when Ana Aguilar crossed from the right wing and the ball pinballed off central defenders Toni Pressley and Crystal Dunn before falling right into the path of Raquel Rodriguez Cedeno.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press