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U.S. women advance to Olympic semifinals with win over New Zealand

USWambach (Getty Images)

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.


  1. The first thing we teach high school keepers is how to do a collapse save and not expose their face to possible injury. I can’t believe that this keeper was not properly trained. She made no attempt to get out of the way…was she going for the player or the ball???

  2. Don Garber would likely disagree. He would probably suspend Morgan a few games for failing to leap over the goalkeeper.

  3. A whole lot of negativity directed at a team that just advanced and did so against New Zealand who takes their soccer almost as seriously as they do their rugby. How about a “Well Done” to our ladies and save the bellyaching for another day. Sorry to see the Kiwis gone, but as always TEAM USA!

  4. Chastain is a complete idiot. The last straw for me was her claim that Alex Morgan created the contact on that play and that it wasn’t a foul by the NZ goalkeeper. She was watching the replay. The goalkeeper threw herself to the ground cutting under Morgan, missing the ball completely and taking out Morgan. Should have been a penalty.

  5. She’s fine, she just NEVER EVER EVER STOPS TALKING. It’s okay to take a breath and let us listen to the crowd for a few seconds every now and then.

  6. I respectfully disagree with your comment about Abby Wambach . She ran the full 90, and helped out in defense more than any striker I’ve seen at the games so far. Not to mention, she’s scored in every game. If one player has earned their place in the starting eleven, it’s Abby.

  7. the opportunities to score were there and not taken by the USA. I do not see the USA as playing kick and run either…they play that way when the opposition pushes numbers forward, as they should (did you see Real Madrid do the exact same thing last night vs. the Galaxy? was that simply “kick and run” or proper tactics?). But they looked to play one and two touch soccer all game, and did it well for long stretches.

    but I can understand the questioning of Pia in this one, and i usually defend her.

    what I do not understand is the subbing off of Rapinoe, and the using up of Cheney and Lloyd in the middle…I just hope those two can keep their legs going forward because when they are fresh they get it done in there, when they tire, like anyone, it’s a tougher task

    what a luxury to have a player of Leroux’s ilk on the bench…wow!

  8. Only saw the second half, but I had no problem with Chastain today. She isn’t the greatest commentator, but I’d rather have her than a fantastic commentator with no knowledge of the team and its players. The referee let a lot of stuff go this game.

  9. Pia mismanaged this game. If we’re going to play kick and run then Abby is not the right choice since she’s not really a runner

    When she finally added more runners, we put it away. The other thing is that with Abby carrying a yellow, is was risky keeping her in but we were lucky to get away with it.

    It is Brandy Chastain’s job to talk and analyze. That’s why she’s there. I had no problem with her comments today

    We must play better if we’re going to keep advancing. Too many bad passes, too much kick and run, too little possession. Pia needs to manage the game, not just lead the cheers when we score. This should have been a blowout but instead, we struggled until late

  10. I have a feeling that we are up for a rude awakening in the semifinal. And Brandy Chastain is still talking too much.


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