4-4-2: 1-Solo; 11-Krieger, 19-Johnston, 4-Sauerbrunn, 22-Klingenberg; 15-Rapinoe, 12-Holiday, 10-Lloyd, 17-Heath; 13-Morgan, 20-Wambach (capt.)
Subs: 2-Leroux, 3-Rampone, 5-O’Hara, 6-Engen, 7-Boxx, 8-Rodriguez, 9-O’Reilly, 14-Brian, 16-Chalupny, 18-Harris, 21-Naeher, 23-Press
After the defeat of Nigeria, the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) took a much-needed rest period and soon discovered they would take on Colombia. Since the beginning of the tournament, our girls have been the subject of much criticism. Australia blabbed about them after their loss, Sweden’s coach Pia Sundhage made comments about specific players leading up to their matchup, and Lady Andrade of Colombia called out the USA labeling the girls overconfident and stating “they lack heart.” What do all of these teams have in common? We beat them. Although we drew with Sweden, we beat them in the sense that we’re still in the tournament (Sweden got crushed by Germany 4-1 in the Round of 16).
The USA used the same starters that they used against Nigeria. Although the 1st Half went goalless, the girls had their chances. The 2 bad moments that took place were the yellow cards from Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe. Because both players picked up their second yellow cards of the tournament, they will be suspended for the next match.
By halftime the stats looked like this:
USA / COL
Shots: 7 / 6
Shots on Goal: 3 / 0
Saves: 0 / 3
Corner Kicks: 4 / 2
Fouls: 12 / 3
Offside: 1 / 0
So now we’re into Match 4 of the tournament and the girls’ offense still looks flat. Our defense looks great and the back line has been improving with each match. But the offense is still the weakness of the squad. Unfortunately, the problem is the presence of our leader, Abby Wambach. Every time she’s on the field, the entire offense runs through her. Play after play, lobbing long balls into the box, hoping she’ll connect with a header. Now there’s no doubt she is the leader of the team, but the girls need to come up with a different game-plan if they want to continue to start her.
Now the lack of action that was the 1st Half, fans and viewers across the continent got their moneys worth within 2 minutes of the 2nd Half. When Alex Morgan pursued a long ball in a 1 v 1 with Colombia’s goalkeeper, she was tripped in the box and sent hurling over the keeper. The U.S. was awarded a penalty kick and Colombia’s GK Catalina Perez was sent off with a red card.
So surely with Colombia down to 10-men, that would open the floodgates for the U.S. right? The answer to that is “sort of.” We as USWNT fans here in the States have been spoiled when it comes to our team. The U.S. are a behemoth in the women’s game and between 2011 and 2014 we were scoring anywhere from 3 to 9 goals against some countries. Even here in Atlanta when the girls had a friendly a year ago (during our well-televised ‘snowpacolypse’ that struck Atlanta) they beat Russia 8-0, easily.
The girls were able to nab 2 solid goals from the likes of Alex Morgan and a penalty kick by Carli Lloyd. So if you base the performance of the U.S. on their past dismantling of teams during friendlies, they did pretty poor. But if you look at it in a general sense of great football (soccer), a 2-0 win is a good win. In the World Cup, any win is a good win.
With this victory the girls advance to the Quarterfinal to face China on June 26 at 7:30p ET in Ottawa. With this shutout, the U.S. defense hasn’t surrendered a goal in 333 consecutive minutes in this tournament. Here are the final stats:
USA / COL
Shots: 15 / 10
Shots on Goal: 6 / 2
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 8 / 3
Fouls: 21 / 12
Offside: 2 / 0