Christen Press and Carli Lloyd combined to score all seven goals as they shutout Argentina in the last group stage game of the International Tournament of Brasilia on Thursday night.
The result, coupled with Brazil’s 4-1 victory over China, means the U.S. WNT advance to the final of the tournament to play Brazil, where they will look to get revenge for their 3-2 defeat this past Sunday.
Heading into the match, China sat in second place with four points and a goal difference of +6 while the U.S. were behind them with one point and a goal difference of -1.
A seven goal victory meant that the U.S. would draw level on points with the Chinese with an identical goal difference, meaning that any China loss would send the Americans through to the final. If China avoided defeat against the hosts, they would advance to the final.
The U.S. did their part with Press scoring four goals, while Carli Lloyd bagged a hat trick to send the Argentinians home without a single point or goal.
The U.S. got off the mark in the 7th minute when Morgan Brian’s shot was parried by Argentina goalkeeper Elisabeth Minnin, where it fell to Press, who put away the rebound.
The second goal came in the 23rd minute when Abby Wambach did well to control a pass on the right, turn towards the middle, and play a perfect pass to the onrushinPress. The forward took two touches before firing past Minnin to get her second goal of the game.
Lloyd tripled the American’s lead in the 30th minute when her perfectly placed header found the back of the net after Brian cross found her from 10 yards out. The goal meant Lloyd scored in her seventh consecutive game, two away from the record set by Michelle Akers in 1991.
Press got her hat trick eleven minutes later when she ran on to Ali Kreiger’s cross at the near post, where she diverted the ball over Minnin. Lloyd made it five in the 44th minute when a cross from Lori Chalupny was missed by Minnin and Wambach, where it found an unmarked Lloyd, who fired home at the back post.
Lloyd clinched a hat trick of her own when Rapinoe’s cross to the back post was kept alive by Heather O’Reilly. Her ball looped in the air and dropped for Lloyd, who volleyed home. The goal gave her 15 on the year, which means she passes Wambach for most goals in 2014.
Minnin was at fault for the seventh and final goal when she spilled Rapinoe’s shot straight to Press, who had the easy task and tapping into the empty net.
It was not all smiles at the final whistle, as Sydney Leroux capped off a disappointing tournament with an unnecessary red card in stoppage time. The ejection means Leroux will miss the final on Sunday.
Alyssa Naeher deputized in goal, in place of Hope Solo. She made one save to get a clean sheet, which means she is the seventh U.S. goalkeeper to earn a shutout in her first appearance.
After the match the new FIFA rankings were released, which showed that the U.S. had dropped into second place behind Germany. This marks the first time since February 2008 that the U.S. did not sit atop the FIFA Women’s Rankings.
Brazil’s 4-1 victory over China in the second game means they will face the U.S. in the championship of the tournament. If the game is anything like the 3-2 come-from-behind win for Brazil against the U.S., the final will be hugely enjoyable.