Don’t let the final score fool you, the US Women’s National Team defeated Colombia 2-0 in the Round of 16 of the Women’s World Cup. While the final score may have been 2-0 for the USA, the game tells a different story.
After a rather dominant beginning of the game by the United States, Colombia stepped up and really put the pressure on the USWNT for the rest of the first half. Colombia really frustrated the USWNT and they frustrated USWNT fans. They even frustrated me as I was watching the game and covering it on Twitter.
I said it on Twitter and I’ll say it on here even after the fact, I couldn’t tell which team was ranked #28 in the world and which team was ranked #2 in the world. Even in the 2nd half and they goalkeeper Catalina Perez got sent off with a hard foul on Alex Morgan, I couldn’t tell which team was playing with 10 people and which team was playing with 11.
Anyway, like I said, Perez received a straight red card for her foul on Morgan and denying her a goal scoring opportunity. Perez, who was the third string goalkeeper for Colombia, was having a great great game making some great saves in the first half but that all went away in the red card. On the ensuing PK, the usually reliable Abby Wambach sailed the PK wide and things remained 0-0.
It didn’t take long for the USWNT to bounce back and Morgan got her goal. It wasn’t the greatest shot but it deflected off of Stefany Castano’s arm and into the goal. Sometimes that is what you need to win, take many shots from all different angles. You can’t score if you don’t shoot and that’s what Morgan set out to do.
Then in the 65th minute, Megan Rapinoe, who will be suspended for the Quarterfinal game against China, won a PK and this time, Carli Lloyd took the kick. She calmly slotted this kick home and the USWNT won 2-0.
While this was a victory by the USWNT, they need to make some changes or else they won’t even get close to winning the tournament. The USWNT may be able to play like this and escape against Colombia but they’re going to have to play better if they want to beat China, much less France or Germany in the Semifinal.
The USWNT’s play tonight reminded me of the English Men’s National Team. Both teams rely too much on set pieces, crosses and history in order to win. And instead of tapping into young talent, both teams stick with old players and outdated tactics that don’t work and they don’t change.
The only thing that may save the United States in this tournament is their back line and Hope Solo. The USWNT hasn’t allowed a goal in 333 minutes and is backed up by one of the best goalkeepers ever Hope Solo. What was once their biggest unknown may actually be their biggest asset and may be their ticket to the World Cup title.