East Hartford, Ct. – The U.S. WNT came to East Hartford on Wednesday night expecting a tough challenge from a Colombia team that has given the World Champions trouble in the past but before the first half was done the Americans had overwhelmed the Cafeteros on the way to a 7-0 victory.
U.S. Soccer sued the players in February and just one week ago the players countered with a wage discrimination complaint but Wednesday night in Connecticut this team once again demonstrated its uncanny ability to ignore outside distractions and get the job done on the field.
Colombia, on the other hand, were unable to deliver the kind of performance most have come to expect from the team that gave the U.S. fits in the 2015 World Cup before eventually succumbing 2-0.
After captaining her side to that surprisingly easy 7-0 victory Carli Lloyd addressed Colombia’s struggle for a decent wage. “I’m really good friends with Yorely Rincon,” Lloyd said, “and she was texting with me and I wasn’t sure if they were actually going to come over here and play.”
Colombia’s federation was said to have come up with some money owed to the team before traveling to the U.S. but according to Lloyd, “they (Colombia) haven’t been paid for four months, especially coming off of a great World Cup.”
“They get paid 70 bucks a day,” Lloyd said, “and they’re not getting that, so it’s just really hard for me to understand.” “We want to help other countries out, I know Australia’s been fighting as well.” “I think,” Lloyd added, “all these team’s need the help of their federations.”
On the field, however, there was no help forthcoming for Colombia, not from a from a U.S. team that is playing at a very high level coming off a challenging SheBelieves Cup and is comprised of players fighting for Olympic places.
Given the scoreline, it is a bit surprising that Colombia kept the home team off of the board until Crystal Dunn broke the deadlock in the 27th minute. But the visitors came out strong at the start playing with confidence and a bit of trademark recklessness.
But Dunn’s goal opened the floodgates and by the 39th minute the game was done and dusted with the U.S. leading 4-0. Allie Long, Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd were the scorers in that impressive 12-minute burst.
Long’s goal was her first international tally and the defensive midfielder would add a second before the night was through, international goals one and two for the Portland Thorns midfielder.
With Morgan Brian joining Alex Morgan on the injured list (both injuries are said to be minor) for this match Long got the chance to add to her four caps, after being out of the national team since 2014.
Long surely made the most of that chance, a chance she later admitted she thought might never come. “I tried not to even think about that,” Long said, “of course there are times that, you know, what if it never happened and I’m doing all this work for nothing, but I always tried to stay positive and moving towards my goal.”
Long took a huge step tonight but the competition for 18 Olympic places is intense and nobody on the American squad hurt their chances versus Colombia.
Crystal Dunn, Tobin Heath, and Lloyd led the way, but there were stars all over the pitch for the Yanks who face this same likely demoralized Colombia side again on Sunday outside of Philadelphia.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 4 3 7
COL 0 0 0
USA – Crystal Dunn (Carli Lloyd) 27th minute
USA – Allie Long (Lindsey Horan) 32
USA – Mallory Pugh (Carli Lloyd) 33
USA – Carli Lloyd (Mallory Pugh) 39
USA – Tobin Heath (Crystal Dunn) 62
USA – Allie Long (Julie Johnston) 65
USA – Christen Press (Crystal Dunn) 74
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 5-Kelley O’Hara (9-Heather O’Reilly, 69), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Emily Sonnett, 67), 8-Julie Johnston (6-Whitney Engen, 67), 7-Meghan Klingenberg (11-Ali Krieger, 70); 23-Allie Long, 20-Lindsey Horan (3-Samantha Mewis, 46), 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.); 2-Mallory Pugh (12-Christen Press, 46), 16-Crystal Dunn, 17-Tobin Heath
Subs not used: 21-Alyssa Naeher
Not available: Alex Morgan, Morgan Brian, Ashlyn Harris
Head coach: Jill Ellis
COL: 1-Catalina Perez; 3-Natalia Gaitan (capt.), 14-Nataly Arias, 17-Leidy Asprilla (2-Carolina Arbelaez, 78), 9-Orianica Velasquez; 5-Isabella Echeverri (13-Maria Jaramillo, 90), 6-Liana Salazar 8-Carolina Pineda, 68), 10-Yorely Rincon (18-Yisela Cuesta, 65), 4-Diana Ospina (15-Tatiana Ariza, 84), 16-Leicy Santos, 11-Catalina Usme (7-Nicole Regnier, 87)
Subs not used: 12-Paula Forero
Head coach: Felipe Taborda
Stats Summary: USA / COL
Shots: 24 / 6
Shots on Goal: 14 / 2
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 5 / 1
Fouls: 10 / 18
Offside: 3 / 0
COL – Orianica Velasquez (caution) 18th minute
COL – Yisela Cuesta (caution) 78