Mexico shocked the four-time World Cup champion United States women’s national team on Monday in both teams’ final first round match at the 2024 CONCACAF W Gold Cup. El Tri’s 2-0 triumph in Carson, California. It’s Mexico’s second win in 43 all-time meetings with the U.S., and the vicotry — El Tri’s first over the Americans in 14 years – was enough for El Tri to finish atop Group A over the hosts.

Lizbeth Ovalle scored the only goal the Mexicans would need late in the first half, and Mayra Pelayo-Bernal added another in second half stoppage time. 

The U.S. and Mexico will both learn the identity of their quarterfinal opponents when the group stage concludes later this week.

“This wasn’t nearly our best,” USWNT forward Alex Morgan told the official broadcaster afterward. “We’re gonna have to digest and break down this game.”

Meantime, a few takeaways from Monday’s stunner at Dignity Health Sports Park:

Play of the game

It’s got to be Ovalle’s opener.  Moments after what was probably the U.S.’s best chance to that point, a long range Emily Fox blast that forced a fine save from El Tri keeper Esthefanny Barreras, the visitors struck on the counter.

Veteran American center back Becky Sauerbrunn was unable to clear a looping pass into the space behind her, and instead gave the ball away to Ovalle, who had all the time in the world to chip the ball over home keeper Alyssa Naeher.

Turning point

The goal changed the game, but the truth is the Americans were second best from the opening whistle. Already assured of a spot in the knockout stage of the inaugural W Gold Cup after lopsided victories over Argentina and the Dominican Republic, interim U.S. coach Twila Kilgore opted for her most experienced lineup of the W Gold Cup so far. .

It didn’t matter. While Mexico, which had also clinched a spot in the business end of the tournament, was sharp from the start, the U.S. couldn’t turn its 63-percent to 37 possession advantage into goals or even dangerous chances.

In fact, the home side was lucky not to be down two at the break after another first half Mexican shot beat Naeher but not the crossbar. And in the end, FIFA’s No. 2-ranked team fully deserved to lose to No. 35 Mexico.

Key stat

It’s the USWNT’s first loss to its Southern neighbor since 2010 and first on home soil. It was no fluke, either. EL Tri outshot the U.S. 13-9 on the night, including a whopping 4-1 advantage on on-target efforts. 

“We found some pockets here and there but not nearly enough,” Morgan said. “We didn’t execute on the chances we had. I don’t think we’ve tested the goalkeeper. I think we broke down way too easily. And Mexico came to play today.”

What’s next for the U.S. women

A continental quarterfinal, possibly against northern rival Canada. Whoever the Americans get, it’s a huge opportunity for the USWNT to show that Monday was an aberration. Coming off the worst World Cup showing in their proud history in 2023 and with the 2024 Olympics in Paris now just six months away, the response will say plenty about where this team is as Emma Hayes prepares to take over this summer.

What’s next for Mexico

Following one of the most important wins in program history, El Tri’s players must keep their feet on the ground. They’ve earned an advantage by beating the tourney favorites to the group title; Mexico will get an easier opponent when the teams are re-seeded following the group stage, at least in theory. But who’d really doubt that Mexico can reach the final four — or better — after what they accomplished on Monday?

Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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