The US women notched their second victory of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup with a bruising 3-0 victory over Colombia. To be honest, it easily could have and should have been 5 or 6 to nil. The US women controlled the match from start to finish, but they had trouble finishing chances, especially in the first half. The Americans created chance after chance, and while they did notch 3 goals and 3 points, they will need to refine their finishing for the later rounds against tougher opponents. That aside, the victory today should be fully enjoyed. The US can win their group with a tie or win vs. Sweden in their next match. Join me after the break for a recap of the action, as all 3 goals were beautiful, but the first is a must see Golazo...
USA vs Colombia 1-0 Goal Heather O'Reilly | Womens World Cup 2011 - 7/2/11 (via InternationalAndUEFA)
USA vs Colombia 2-0 Goal Megan Rapinoe | Womens World Cup 2011 - 7/2/11 (via InternationalAndUEFA)
The US did well to dominate the game from start to finish. Simply put, we had better passing, possession, and were MUCH quicker than Colombia. Colombia actually looked extremely slow, and the US took advantage of that. While US keeper Hope Solo made a couple of nice saves, she wasn't really tested much at all. The same can't be said for Colombia's keeper Sandra Sepulveda. The US peppered her with shots, she looked shaky on her line, and easily could have given up a couple of more scores had fortune favored the US a bit more than it already did today.
The US kicked off scoring with an absolutely magnificent goal by Heather O'Reilly in the 13th minute. One of Colombia's defenders turned the ball over, and Heather took a quick shot and fired the ball towards net. She was outside of the 18 yard box on the right side, approximately 25 yards out. The shot was perfect, as announcer extraordinaire Ian Darke (yes, the same guy that called the Landon Donovan goal vs. Algeria in the World Cup) called the ball a "tracer shot". Heather shot towards the far post in the upper corner of the net. The ball curled back perfectly over the keeper and into the net. It truly is one of the best goals I've seen in the past few years.
Despite the early lead, the US was steadily dangerous, but could not put any more shots in net for the remainder of the opening half. Colombia had to have been feeling upbeat at halftime only being down 1-0 after the domination the US showed in the first half. The US did not let up, and created more of the same dangerous chances in the 2nd half. Fortunately, they would get a couple of scores to add to their lead. In the 49th minute, Lauren Cheney threaded a nice ball to Megan Rapinoe. She took the ball at the upper left corner of the 18 yard box, and dribbled across the top of the box. It was shades of Marco Pappa in my eyes. She was able to create a little space, turn, and fire a shot from the middle of the 18 yard box past the keeper. She followed the strike up with a nice singing celebration into one of the furry, field-side microphones. I definitely have seen the mikes kicked in celebration before, but never sung into. Bonus points for that celebration. It was the 2nd consecutive beautiful goal from the US women, and for all intents and purposes the game was over at that point. There is no way Colombia could come back from the two goal deficit considering how one sided the game had been so far.
The Americans would put the icing on the cake with a 3rd and final goal from Carli Lloyd, who was assisted by Stephanie Cox. Lloyd fired a hard shot at Sepulveda, who should have made the save. Instead, she pulled a page out of the Rob Green goalkeeping handbook and somehow let the ball deflect into the goal. The last goal certainly cemented the final result, and eased tensions that had built earlier in the game from missed opportunities.
There was still a bit of intrigue in the final minutes, as US star Abby Wambach is currently mired in the longest scoring drought of her career. She had a few chances, and one open look in which she passed to a teammate instead, but she still couldn't find the net. In what has been a sign of her struggles, she had a great look at an open net let in the game, but ended up channeling her inner Diego Chaves and putting the ball off the post. I feel bad for her, because all she hears from the press is when her drought will end and what is wrong with her. Rather than focusing on the positive of the US victory, I am sure these questions will still be raised. Let's hope she nets a goal soon for the sake of her sanity.
The USWNT will be back in action Wednesday to face Sweden, in their last game of the group stage. The game is slated for a 1:30 PM CST start. It will be broadcast on ESPN of course, with espn3.com and Galavision also airing it. I also love that Ian Darke is doing the announcing for all US games. I think he is one of the best in the world and I would listen to any match he announced, even if it were two 4th grade soccer teams facing each other. Yeah, he's that good. Julie Foudy, his partner in the booth and US women's soccer legend, also does a very good job in my opinion. John Harkes and Alexi Lalas need to take announcing tips from them, although I don't think it's possible for Alexi and John not to suck.
Bravo to the US ladies, and good luck Wednesday vs. Sweden.