The U.S. women's national team's hopes for another Olympic gold medal are still alive, and so is its shutout streak.
Abby Wambach scored in the first half, and substitute Sydney LeRoux ended all doubt with a late clincher, as the U.S. women held off New Zealand 2-0 and advanced to the semifinals of the Olympic tournament at St. James' Park in Newcastle, England. The Americans will play either Canada or Team Great Britain for the right to advance to the gold medal round.
Wambach touched home a curving low cross to the far post from Alex Morgan, who had gotten by her defender on the left and pressed into the area in the 27th minute. The goal was the culmination of a hot start for the U.S. attack, as Morgan and Wambach both missed golden chances in front of net in the opening minutes. Morgan had a look at an empty net after pouncing on an errant touch by a New Zealand defender and rounding the keeper, but her shot at an odd angle went just wide in the 10th minute.
Seven minutes later, Megan Rapinoe sent in a low cross from the right that skipped through the area, eluded Morgan's touch and was one-timed wide by Wambach. Both forwards made up for that 10 minutes later with the eventual game-winning goal.
New Zealand held tight and kept things suspenseful, but the Football Ferns were only able to challenge U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo from distance on a handful of occasions, and she had no problem extending her shutout streak to 346 minutes. The U.S. women have not conceded a goal since the 14th minute of the opening match against France, one that put them in a 2-0 hole at the time.
With the win, the U.S. women improved 4-0-0 in the tournament and 56-0-1 all-time when Wambach scores in the first half. The goal was her 142nd in international competition.
What did you think of the USWNT's performance? Are you feeling confident of the U.S. women advancing to the gold medal game?
Share your thoughts below.