Day 7 started the classification phase of the tournament. Everyone had something to play for. Temperatures were searing hot for the first two games before cooling considerably for the semi-finals. The action remained hot throughout, with four action packed matches.
Match 1 5-8th – Dominican Republic (DOM) vs. Guatemala (GUA)
Classification round began and with it the first match between Dominican Republic and Guatemala.
During the first quarter DOM pressured Guatemala into their 25 yards. With 7 PC in just 9 minutes Benifer MORONTA opened the scoring for DOM’, despite the goal GUA defence remained solid.
During the 2Q GUA started to attack but without generating any danger for their opponents. DOM responded quickly and Agustina BIROCHO's high backhand attempt was stopped by Norma QUEVEDO. María DISANTI cut through the middle of the opponent’s area and with a rolly go scored the 2-0 for DOM. In the 12 'and 14' minutes, BIROCHO increased the lead.
With only 3 minutes played of the 3rd quarter BIROCHO scored to make it 5-0 for DOM. After that goal the game became a little bit slower.
4Q DOM dominated possession and they created many opportunities. They managed to score two of them. BIROCHO scored both, FGs in the 50 ' and 60’ minutes. The final result was 7-0.
Dominicana will face the winner of Jamaica vs Guyana for 5th place.
Match 2 5-8th – Jamaica (JAM) vs. Guyana (GUY)
The teams came out to play with a clear strategy. The first to obtain PCs was the Jamaicans but they could not capitalise on it. Jamaica began to dominate possession, although Q1 ended 0-0.
2Q Shareeka ELLIOT and Kamille GRIFFITHS took the lead in attack on several occasions but without result. GUY got their first PC but could not score. The halftime score remained 0-0.
During the third quarter both teams had their chance to score but the neither managed to take advantage of their opportunity. 3Q finished 0-0.
During the 4Q Jamaica again dominated possession who earned a PC in the 58 ', but NICHOLSON's drag flick went wide. With the game 0-0 and with no time left we had a shootout to break the tie. Jamaica won the shootout with goals from NICHOLSON, GRIFFITHS and ELLIOTT and will face Rep. Dominicana for the 5th place. FT 0-0 (3-0 SO).
Match 3 Semi-final 1 – Mexico (MEX) vs. Barbados (BAR)
Our first semi-final got off to a cautious start with MEX the stronger of the teams. They earned the match’s first PC, but the BAR defence firm to clear the danger. Slowly BAR started to find their way, maintaining more possession. Their athletic and skilful forwards made a few good runs that the MEX team handled well. MEX earned a second PC but were unable to score and the Q1 horn sounded with the score 0-0.
BAR’s quicker attackers started to make things difficult for MEX who were unable to play their usual passing game. The midfield battle favoured the BAR team who earned a PC which they failed to get a shot from. BAR continued to look dangerous with some circle entries, but the MEX defenders made some important tackles to deny the shot. The halftime horn sounded with the game nicely balanced at 0-0.
Q3 started and with it a change in the MEX approach. They slowed the game down and made sure to pass the ball around more. Slowly they got more circle entries and kept the BAR defence under pressure, but were unable to score. The game also got more physical, each team having a player serve a yellow card suspension. The horn sounded on Q3 with both teams still tied 0-0.
The tempo of Q4 started off slowly with MEX controlling possession and position on the field. Discipline became an issue also as two BAR players and one MEX received yellow card suspensions inside of the first 4 minutes of the quarter. MEX started making more circle entries, but met either solid BAR defending or alert goalkeeping from Sheena NICHOLLS. The toll of playing a player short seemed to tell for a tiring BAR team and with two minutes to go they could not prevent a cross that was eventually tapped in on the second attempt by Jennifer VALDES. There was still time for each team to get a yellow card suspension, taking the 4th quarter total to five out of the seven issued for the match. The final horn sounded seconds later for MEX to qualify for the final and with it earn a Pan American Games spot.
Match 4 Semi-final 2 – Trinidad & Tobago (TTO) vs. Cuba (CUB)
If the first semi-final started slowly, the second was action from the start. CUB immediately took control of the game, launching wave after wave of attack at the TTO defence. The TTO team managed to keep the attacks out, but were unable to put any passes together to leave their half of the field. They withstood tremendous pressure and would have been relieved when the Q1 horn sounded with the score 0-0.
Q2 started with a similar pattern as the first, this time though CUB capitalised on a TTO mistake for Yuraima VERA to finish a one-on-one with GK Petal DERRY for a 0-1 lead. CUB went in search of more goals, forcing a few PCs but the TTO defence continued to hold steady. TTO captain Amie OLTON started slowing the pace of the game and encouraging her team to make passes. Just as they started playing their way into the game another defensive error let Yunia MILANES get another one-on-one with DERRY which she easily scored. The HT horn sounded shortly after with the score 0-2.
TTO started the third with more confidence and for the first time the game saw action in the CUB half of the field. They earned PCs but could not get any good shots off. They were able to prevent CUB from having much possession in their half and enjoyed their best period of the match. For all of their efforts the Q3 horn sounded though with the score still 0-2.
The final quarter saw TTO make a bigger push to get back into the game. They again earned a PC, but failed to get a shot on target. CUB were able to regain some control as the game went back and forth. TTO were the more desperate and they worked hard to get past an unyielding CUB defence. With the TTO pressing forward CUB finally found some space to attack, Brizaida RAMOS drilling a shot past DERRY. That was the last meaningful action of the game and the final horn sounded with the sounds of CUB cheers as they earned the second Pan American Games place.
Saturday’s classification matches have been decided. 7-8th GUA vs GUY, 5-6th DOM vs JAM, 3-4th BAR vs. TTO and 1-2nd MEX vs. CUB.
It is the turn of the men tomorrow. Four teams will be playing for two Pan American Games spots. The other four will be looking for ranking points and to finish their tournament strong. Stay tuned for more on that.