The 2022 CONCACAF W Championship serves a dual purpose, operating as qualification for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and 2024 Summer Olympics. The United States Women’s National Team has won different variations of the tournament eight times, including the most recent edition in 2018. Hosted by Mexico, Vlatko Andonovski’s side opens the competition against Haiti at the Estadio Universitario in San Nicolás de los Garza.
This is the seventh all-time meeting between the two nations, with the USWNT holding a perfect 7-0-0 record. Haiti qualified for the competition by finishing atop Group E without surrendering a single goal and racking up victories over Cuba, Honduras, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and the British Virgin Islands. The latter two fixtures featured an explosion of attacking, by 11-0 and 21-0 margins, respectively. Les Grenadières played two pre-tournament friendlies against Costa Rica, losing, 2-1, and winning, 4-2.
Haiti is led by Nicolas Delépine, who was appointed to the role this past January. The 44-year-old French manager has worked with Nantes, Montpellier, and Guingamp, recently serving as a coach for Grenoble. He is tasked with the unprecedented task of delivering the country to first-ever qualification for the Women’s World Cup or Olympic Games.
Concacaf W: La liste définitive des Grenadières devant disputer la dernière phase des éliminatoires de la Coupe de la FIFA Australie-Nouvelle-Zélande 2023. Cette génération qui compte 9 joueuses ayant déjà disputé un mondial, tentera de réitérer l'exploit. #Grenadye ALASOOOOOOO pic.twitter.com/nb4nt0kXaQ— Fédération Haïtienne de Football (@fhfhaiti) June 30, 2022
Delépine named a 23-player roster for the competition, a young group that should demonstrate some fire and fearless panache. The talent is mainly spread between the domestic Haitian Women’s Football Championship, various French leagues, and the North American collegiate ranks. There are multiple dual-nationals who switched from the United States program.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Madelina Fleuriot (Exafoot FC), Nahomie Ambroise (Anacaona SC), Lara Larco (Georgetown University)
DEFENDERS (8): Chelsea Surpris (AS Yzeure), Jennyfer Limage (Grenoble Foot), Tabita Joseph (Stade Brestois), Maudeline Moryl (Exafoot FC), Claire Constant (University of Virginia), Estericove Joseph (Exafoot FC), Kethna Louis (Stade de Reims), Ruthny Mathurin (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
MIDFIELDERS (3): Melchie Dumornay (Stade de Reims), Betina Petit-Frère (Stade Brestois), Florsie-Love Darlina Joseph (Don Bosco)
FORWARDS (9): Batcheba Louis (Issy), Méghane St-Cyr (Aigles Ahuntsic), Sherly Jeudy (Grenoble Foot), Nérilia Mondésir (Montpellier), Roseline Éloissaint (FC Nantes), Milan Pierre-Jerome (University of Maryland), Mikerline Saint-Félix (Montauban), Dayana Pierre-Louis (AS Tigresses), Roselord Borgella (Issy)
Delépine deploys a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation that can also resemble a 4-4-2 with the advanced midfielders slotting into a second-striker role. Haiti has a quick-strike, vertical offense that can transition into attack at a moment’s notice with an incisive long pass. Players doggedly pursue the ball and swarm in the final third. Set pieces are a constant cause for concern, whether serving up a cross or putting a shot directly on net.
Based on this year’s matches, the goalkeeper position is a true toss-up between Madelina Fleuriot of Exafoot, Georgetown University’s Lara Larco, and Nahomie Ambroise. The latter, an 18-year-old with domestic-based Anacaona FC, received a significant run during qualifying. She is active coming off her line, decently athletic when forced to make difficult saves, and quite useful in possession.
Claire Constant, a former U.S. youth international, recently finished her fourth season with the University of Virginia and led the top-ranked Cavaliers to the Sweet 16. She is physical on the ground and in the air, maintaining a cool countenance on both sides of the ball when rushed or pressed by an opponent. Her partner will likely be Kethna Louis of Reims. The 25-year-old is a wide defender/fullback at the club level but moves to the interior as an international, possessing the speed to chase down opposing attackers.
Former U.S. youth international Chelsea Surpris has carved out a role at the right back position, playing with AS Yzeure and reaching the final of this year’s Coupe de France Féminine. Born in Crowley, Texas, she attended the University of Texas at Austin for four years, displaying fancy footwork and high technical ability on the wing. On the other side of the formation is Ruthny Mathurin who currently competes with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, racking up four assists as a super-freshman for the Ragin’ Cajuns. Her set pieces are dangerous, whether driving a free kick or looping in a curler of a cross.
Jennyfer Limage competes for French side Grenoble Foot and can play as a holding midfielder or on the back line. She was named to the Best XI for the first window CONCACAF qualifying, described as excellent for “being an accurate passer” when “splitting line with vertical balls,” while also “never shying away from a challenge either on the ground or in the air.” Her club teammate, Sherly Jeudy, performs an essential role in the build-up, serving as an outlet and maintaining possession by shielding off opponents. With a background as a striker, the box-to-box avails quite well in the final third and maintains composure on occasional breakaways.
Batcheba Louis, who competes in France with Issy, scored seven goals during qualifying. She is, perhaps, the most dynamic player on the roster, responsible for collecting the ball and transitioning her team into the final third. At 18, Melchie Dumornay is one of the world’s top prospects and dominated at the youth international level, claiming the Golden Ball at the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship. A combination of speed, aggressive dribbling, and accurate long passes allow her to dominate the opponent in a variety of ways, displaying an innate and almost frustrating understanding of the game. Rounding out the advanced midfielder group is Nérilia Mondésir of Montpellier, a hybrid attacker with a tendency to cut in from the wing. The 23-year-old sometime-captain is dangerous when making driving runs behind the defense.
Roselord Borgella should feature atop the formation, having scored 11 goals during qualifying. The 29-year-old old recently moved from Issy to Dijon, which will compete in the top division of France next season. She is described as a “pivot” who “uses her body well to hold the ball,” able to receive passes with her back to the defense but fast enough to sprint behind the defense. Her ability to create solo opportunities will dictate her team’s success in this match and throughout the competition.
This is an improving Haitian side stocked with young and athletic players that could reach the Women’s World Cup through the main draw or inter-confederation playoffs but will easily qualify in 2027. While the USWNT should be able to secure a comfortable victory based on talent disparity, the opening match of a tournament can sometimes produce an unexpected result. The recent friendlies against Colombia demonstrated a few moments of malaise and disconnect waiting to be exploited by the right opponent.
The match is scheduled for Monday, July 4th at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, 4:00 pm Pacific. Viewing options include CBS Sports Network, Paramount+, ViX, and FUBO TV (free trial).