USWNT / Women's World Cup

Women’s World Cup recap: USWNT 2-0 Colombia

The US topped ten-woman Colombia 2-0 in Edmonton on Monday to advance to the Women’s World Cup Quarterfinals, where they will face China on Friday (7:30 pm, Fox,NBC Universo).

Abby Wambach missed a penalty before Morgan scored from short range, and Lloyd tallied with a penalty of her own.

Colombia goalkeeper Catalina Perez was sent off in the 47th minute for hauling down Morgan, who had pushed the ball around her while in on goal. The question of whether the foul took place inside the box or just outside may be debatable but there was little argument the card was justified as Perez was the last defender and denied Morgan a clear goal scoring opportunity.  Wambach took the ensuing spot kick, but sent it wide to the left.

Recap

Jill Ellis kept the same team that defeated Nigeria in the final group play game on Tuesday.

The US started strong and had the ball in the back of the net inside the first five minutes. Good movement around the top of the box saw Morgan lay off a well-weighted pass to Tobin Heath. Heath struck her shot well, but Perez made the save, diving to her left. Wambach followed the shot up and slid to knock the ball past Perez, but the striker was offside.

As they did for large stretches of matches in the group stage, the US dictated much of the play but failed to create many clear cut opportunities. The Colombians did well to defend in organized lines and looked dangerous on the counterattack.

The game changed shortly after the half when Perez brought down Morgan just inside the Colombia box. A long ball down the left wing from Megan Rapinoe found Morgan, who was making a looping run behind the Colombian back line. Perez tried to cut down the angle as Morgan advanced and reached for the ball just as Morgan pushed it past the outstretched goalkeeper, who made contact with Morgan’s leg, sending the striker sprawling. Referee Stephanie Frappart had no choice to but to award the penalty and show Perez a red card.

Wambach stepped up to take the kick and pushed her shot well to the left of the goal.

Morgan would come to her strike partner’s rescue in the 53rd minute. Taking a clever pass from Ali Kreiger on the right of the Colombia box, Morgan took her first touch toward goal and fired in at the near post past Stefany Castano with her second. It was Morgan’s first goal of the tournament.

Lloyd added a second goal in the 66th minute. Rapinoe made a strong run into the Colombia box and was brought down by a clumsy foul from Angela Calivjo. Lloyd took her penalty confidently and sent Castano the wrong way.

The second goal seemed to kill the Colombian’s spirit and the rest of the match played out with few chances for either side.

Despite the win, there was some bad news for the US. Rapinoe and center midfielder Lauren Holiday both picked up their second yellow cards of the tournament and will be suspended for Friday’s match against China in Ottawa.

Three Points

I’m still not convinced

Yes, Colombia defeated France in group play. But they lost to England and drew Mexico, as well. With Germany and France making quick work of their Round of 16 opponents, it would have been good to see the US do the same. Instead, the lack of creativity was again apparent in the US attack, which seemed in the first half to consist almost entirely of hopeful balls lumped toward Wambach and Morgan. The rate of play, particularly in the final third, was also disappointingly slow for the fourth straight match, while Lloyd and Lauren Holiday continued to struggle in the center of the park. But there was one big bright spot…

The defense continues to look strong

The center back pairing of Becky Sauerbrunn and Julie Johnston has so far been the best in the tournament. Both are incredibly strong in the air and even stronger in the tackle. But it’s not only their defense that sets the duo apart. Both have been extremely good with the ball at their feet, trying to start the attack from the back. Megan Klingenberg has been a revelation at left back, covering acres of ground up and down the wing to not only track her mark, but also to join the attack.

Those three subs

When Rapinoe and Holiday recieved first half yellow cards, it was already known that they would miss Friday’s matchup with China. While Holiday played the full 90, Rapinoe was pulled in the 75th minute, with Christen Press replacing her. Why not let Rapinoe tire herself out running the wing, knowing she would be rested on Friday? Ali Kreiger was replaced by Lori Chalupny in the 81st minute, another strange move from Jill Ellis. While it was nice to see the classy Chalupny feature in the World Cup, it was still an odd move to replace part of a back four that had defended so well for the first 80 minutes. Meanwhile, Morgan, who was not fit enough to start the first match of the tournament, was given the chance to play the full 90, even when the match had seemingly been decided after the second goal in the 66th.

Lineups
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger (16-Lori Chalupny, 81), 19-Julie Johnston, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 22-Meghan Klingenberg; 15-Megan Rapinoe (23-Christen Press, 75) 12-Lauren Holiday, 10-Carli Lloyd, 17-Tobin Heath; 13-Alex Morgan, 20-Abby Wambach (capt.) (14-Morgan Brian, 69)
Subs Not Used: 2-Sydney Leroux, 3-Christie Rampone, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 6-Whitney Engen, 7-Shannon Boxx, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 18-Ashlyn Harris, 21-Alyssa Naeher
Head coach:
Jill Ellis

COL: 22-Catalina Perez; 17-Carolina Arias, 14-Nataly Arias, 13-Angela Clavijo, 9-Orianica Velasquez; 3-Natalia Gaitan (capt.), 6-Daniela Montoya (19-Leicy Santos, 85); 4-Diana Ospina, 10-Yoreli Rincon (11-Catalina Usme, 72) 16-Lady Andrade; 7-Ingrid Vidal (1-Stefany Castaño, 49)
Subs not used: 2-Carolina Arbelaez, 5-Lina Granados, 8-Mildrey Pineda, 11-Catalina Usme, 15-Tatiana Ariza, 18-Yisela Cuesta, 19-Leicy Santos, 20-Laura Cosme, 21-Isabella Echeverri, 23-Manuela Gonzalez
Head coach:
Fabian Taborda

Scoring Summary
USA – Alex Morgan (Ali Krieger) 53rd minute
USA – Carli Lloyd (penalty) 66

Misconduct Summary
USA – Lauren Holiday (caution) 17th minute
USA – Megan Rapinoe (caution) 42
COL – Catalina Perez (sent off) 47
COL – Angela Clavijo (caution) 65

Stats Summary (USA / COL)
Shots: 15 / 10
Shots on Goal: 6 / 2
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 8 / 3
Fouls: 21 / 12
Offside: 2 / 0

Officials
Referee: Stephanie Frappart (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Manuela Nicolosi (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Yolanda Parga (ESP)
Fourth Official: Abirami Apbai Naidu (SIN)

Venue: Commonwealth Stadium; Edmonton, Canada
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (6 p.m. local)
Attendance: 19,412
Weather: 70 degrees; Partly Cloudy

6 Comments

  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Morgan was player of the match for me. She turned the game around with her play to draw the red and then actually put the ball in the net, even if it was with help from a keeper mistake.
    .
    Wambach, on the other hand, should be on the bench. She voluntarily took time off and now she’s not in mental or physical shape to be at her best. If she wants to win this cup so much, she’s best off letting her teammates win it for her.
    .
    The suspensions may be a blessing in disguise. If they can get by China, it means no one is in yellow card jeopardy for the game against Germany or France.

  2. The only way I see Jill Ellis sticking around is if the U.S. win the World Cup. Her formations have obviously not been productive and her substitutions are questionable at best.
    .
    In her postgame comments, she mentioned that she thought the U.S. attack was productive and free-flowing which is…interesting. They have been playing with only 1 offensive strategy: kick the ball up into the box and let Abby head it to no one inparticular.
    .
    I agree the yellow-card accumulation for Rapinoe and Holiday could be a blessing in disguise because it forces Ellis to potentially mix-up the formation as well as the lineup. The only decent team China has faced so far is Canada and they lost 1-0, so I think we lucked out with having to face them with two starters out.

  3. The problem isn’t the players the problem is Jill Ellis . . . she apparently only knows one way to play. She’s stuck in the Abby in her prime mentality . . . even when Abby isn’t in the game! She needs to take a cue from other teams around the world and get some players in who attack the box. Heather O’Reilly should be starting at RM every game. It’s been obvious since game 1.
    .
    Agree with the subs. Why take out Rapinoe when she’s gonna sit Friday? I would have subbed out LLoyd since she’s gonna have to do a lot of covering against China with Morgan Brian in there. Side note I feel bad for Kelly O”Hara, a few years ago she was a key cog for the Women’s team, now she’s apparently 3rd choice LB.
    .
    Jill Ellis is playing this World Cup as if it’s some sort of farewell tour for Abby and experienced friendlies for the youngsters. She really needs to remove head from a$$ and realize this is the most prized tournament in the game and it only comes around every four years. I don’t think Jill Ellis is long for this job, and frankly based on her work before and during the WC I won’t be sad to see her go.

    • Great One says:

      Couldn’t agree more. The lineup and formation just aren’t working, and the subs were even worse. The entire offense is based on Morgan or Wambach making their own amazing play or Rapinoe possibly running by someone (which never seems to happen).

    • I tend to agree with your overall assessment of Jill Ellis’s work as coach of the US squad, but I don’t think her substitutions in this match were all that bad (at least 2 of the 3).

      My guess is that Ellis is going to use Christen Press and Morgan Brian as replacements for Rapinoe and Holiday on Friday. That being the case, I can understand why Ellis would want to give Press and Brian some playing time at the positions they will fill against China.

      Plus, Holiday and Rapinoe were both in danger of getting tossed from the Columbia match for a second yellow, so trying to reduce that chance (by moving Rapinoe to the bench and Holiday to forward) would be a reasonable decision by Ellis.

      Her rationale for bringing in Chalupny, however, remains a mystery to me.

  4. That game was so underwhelming….. I fell asleep.
    .
    .
    This team is a snooze fest to watch play. Case Closed. Let’s get on with the China game and win it so we can get bounced by Germany or France and enjoy the rest of summer.
    .

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