The U.S. Women’s National Team made history once again, booking its third-consecutive trip to the Women’s World Cup Finals after a dramatic win over England.
Alex Morgan scored the eventual game-winning goal while Alyssa Naeher saved a 84th-minute penalty kick off the foot of Stephanie Houghton to preserve a 2-1 win in Lyon.
Christen Press got on the end of Kelley O’Hara’s deep cross in the 10th-minute to break the deadlock. Tobin Heath sprayed a through ball for O’Hara to chase after being the right back’s cross found the head of Press who headed past Carly Telford.
The lead didn’t last long though for the USWNT as Ellen White finished Beth Mead’s cross nine-minutes later to equalize. Mead was past the USWNT backline and sent a cross for White to get on the end of.
Telford denied Rose Lavelle’s strike in the 25th-minute to keep things level at the moment. However, Alex Morgan would score on her birthday to give the USWNT a first-half lead they would not relinquish. Lindsey Horan’s cut back and cross found Morgan who made the most of the great service.
Video review ruled out a possible England equalizer in the 67th-minute after White thought she had her second goal of the day. The English forward was later ruled in an offsides position which did not leave Phil Neville a happy man on the sidelines.
VAR would make amends for England in the 83rd-minute as Becky Sauerbrunn was whistled for a foul on White, giving England a chance from the penalty spot. After Nikita Parris missed her prior two penalties, Stephanie Houghton stepped up but was denied by Naeher who saved the midfielder’s effort.
Millie Bright was sent off two minutes later for England, picking up her second yellow card for a foul on Morgan.
Naeher finished the match with three saves as the USWNT moved on to face either the Netherlands or Sweden in July 6th’s Final.
USA vs Netherlands: I don’t know that this subject will post before the match, so here is my take on this match-up.
Both teams have similarities and DISTINCT differences. Here they are.
Both teams are Undefeated, and have scored first in every match.
GOALS SCORED IN 1ST HALF VS 2ND HALF + EXTRA TIME **
** Thailand Match not counted due to distortion of numbers.
TEAM 1st Half 2nd Half + E.T.
U.S. 8 3
NETHERLANDS 2 9
TIME OF GOALS SCORED:
U. S. 3 – 5 – 7 – 10 – 11 – 26 – 31 – 35 – 50 – 65 – 75
NETH 17 – 41- 48 – 54 – 70 – 75 – 80 – 85 – 90 – 92- 99
The U. S. has started fast, got a lead, and held on in a defensive mode.
The Netherlands has worn down their opponents, being the biggest team in the
tournament, and then scored the decisive goals late in the match. 3 of their 6 winning goals
have come in the 90th minute or later.
FORMULA FOR A U. S. WIN:
The U. S. must score first, hopefully holding a first half lead, and then go into a control
mode, and make The Netherlands chase the ball around the pitch. The worst scenario would be to have happen what happened to Sweden in the Semis. The Netherlands is a VERY GOOD TEAM, and every Euro Team in this field fell by the wayside in 2017 when The Netherlands won the Euro Championship. The U. S. has always had difficulty scoring against BIG size Teams like Sweden and Iceland. This match will be no exception. The biggest single factor here will be for the U. S. to score first. It will be difficult for the U. S. to come from behind against the Netherlands, especially in this heat. The next biggest factor will be the impact of video-assisting on referee calls. The Off-Sides, and PK Calls could beat either team.
Again, the U. S. needed virtually a “perfect match” to get by an England Team which is considered the best English Women’s team in History. Without Megan Rapinoe, things looked bleak for the U. S. Her replacement, Christen Press doesn’t have the the play-making or passing ability of Megan. However, Christen is the fastest player on the team and can score when open. She demonstrated that in the match by scoring what was the most important goal of her career.
England came into this match expecting to win. However, a microscopic offside, coupled with a great read by Alyssa on the PK turned what could have been a 3-2 defeat into a 2-1 victory.
I would again give a lot of credit tonight to the USWNT Coaching Staff. They made all the right moves at the right time, including all of the substitutions, and changing to a totally defensive posture at the right time.
The key, I feel, to the continued success of the USWNT, is the back line. One (1) goal appears to be the most they will allow any team. And with the offense not having been shut out in W/C play since the 03 Germany Match, they continue to possess the ideal formula for success.
But there is still one match to go, and it may be that the grueling schedule (the most difficult in W/C History) will still take its toll. Hopefully, the extra days rest that our girls will have over their opponent, along with the luxury of being able to watch your opponent today without having to worry about a semi-final match, will give them an edge which could prove to be the difference, come Sunday. Hopefully, Megan will be fit for duty, and her ACL injury, which limited her effectiveness at the Olympics, has not re-occured.
And yet again England is burned by a penalty kick…