The United States are moving on to the World Cup quarterfinals after a hard earned 2-0 win over gritty 10 man Colombia on Friday.
The Americans came into this game as prohibitive favorites against the number 28th FIFA ranked South Americans, but if they were looking for a statement win in the wake of impressive victories by Germany and France in the round of 16, then the U.S. came up short.
Jill Ellis sent out the same lineup that she had used in the Americans 1-0 win last time out against Nigeria, and as in that game the U.S. started fast.
Colombia were without number one keeper Sandra Sepulveda and the U.S. were quick to test stand in Catalina Perez. The 21 year old University of Miami keeper was well up to task in the early going, making big saves on Tobin Heath and Abby Wambach to keep her team in the game.
Perez’ teammates took heart from her heroics and soon Colombia began to play its way into this match. Lady Andrade, a thorn in the side of the U.S. with her provocative statements during the week, was backing up her talk of victory with some classy play.
Colombia were very confident in possession and were playing the game with a physical edge, an edge that was frustrating the Americans who weren’t happy with the refereeing.
That U.S. frustration was compounded when the two American players in yellow card jeopardy, Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe, each picked up cautions that will see the pair miss the quarterfinals versus China.
The Americans seemed to sit back as the half wore on, either unwilling or unable to high press the Colombians. This tactic, intentional or not, allowed Las Cafeteras to enjoy time on the ball and left the Americans chasing shadows as the half came to a goalless conclusion.
The second half had barely begun when a Rapinoe through ball sprung Morgan in alone on Perez. The young keeper took Morgan down earning a red card and conceding a penalty kick.
Wambach stepped up to take the spot kick with her left foot, a very confident move for the right footer. Wambach has done this before, but she missed badly tonight giving 10 man Colombia hope.
With Perez out and Sepulveda unavailable, Stefany Castano stepped in. Castano had started the first game against Mexico.
Castano was tested quickly by the U.S. and she failed that test when Morgan beat her to the short side in the 53rd minute. Castano might have been expected to keep Morgan’s blast out of the net, but strikers feed on goals and if Morgan has reacquired the taste then the U.S. become a much more dangerous side.
Short handed Colombia were managing a bit more possession than the U.S. might have liked, but the defense had matters in hand and Hope Solo faced just two shots on goal all game.
Rapinoe was taken down in the box, but there was no call. Moments later Pinoe found a measure of justice when the referee pointed to the spot on a very similar play after being sent through by a fine pass from Meghan Klingenberg.
Wambach left this one to Carli Lloyd and Lloyd finished superbly to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead in the 66th minute. That lead would hold and even if this was far from a statement game the U.S. are on to the quarterfinals and Jill Ellis and her staff has until Friday to come up with a plan to beat China minus two of the best U.S. players.Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Colombia
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 2 2
COL 0 0 0
USA – Alex Morgan (Ali Krieger) 53rd minute
USA – Carli Lloyd (penalty) 66
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
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
USA – Lauren Holiday (caution) 17th minute
USA – Megan Rapinoe (caution) 42
COL – Catalina Perez (sent off) 47
COL – Angela Clavijo (caution) 65