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USWNT delivers bounce back win over Colombia

In need of a bounce back win after its historic loss at the hands of Mexico, the U.S. women’s national team put in a controlled performance on Sunday night in Los Angeles for a 3-0 win over Colombia in the quarterfinals of the inaugural 2024 W Gold Cup.

With the win, the USWNT advances to the semifinals in San Diego where they will take on defending Olympic gold medalists Canada (who beat the USWNT in that Olympic semifinal en route to a gold medal). Mexico and Brazil will clash in the other semifinal to determine the W Gold Cup’s inaugural finalists.

As has been the case in USWNT wins this tournament, the Americans got off to a quick start. Jumping on an under-hit pass from Colombia, Alex Morgan won the ball with her press, played a quick give-and-go with Lindsey Horan, and swiftly drew a penalty which Horan subsequently buried for a 1-0 lead. Aside from missing a late sitter, Morgan delivered a vintage performance on Sunday night to remind everyone why she is invaluable to this squad.

The youth contingent handled the rest by halftime with Jenna Nighswonger finding her first USWNT goal from open play on a beautiful first-time finish followed by Jaedyn Shaw slotting home a Trinity Rodman cross for a 3-0 lead in first-half stoppage time. Colombia targeted Rodman in an attempt to get under the American’s skin in typical Concacaf fashion (despite being a COMNEBOL country) but the USWNT would have the last laugh.

It wasn’t just the scoreline that improved drastically for the USWNT against Colombia, but the performance as well. Against Mexico, the Americans couldn’t match their opponent’s physicality and struggled to play out of the Mexican press. On Sunday, the USWNT matched Colombia’s physicality and found solutions to play through the press, or over it when necessary.

“The ultimate goal is to take what the opponent gives us. We’re not limited to just one way of doing things and I think that’s one of the keys that we identified against Mexico,” interim head coach Twila Kilgore said. “Of course, we want to build and we can continue to try and do things but if they give us an opportunity to play in behind and aren’t prepared to deal with that, we’re going to take that and wait for them to adjust and then maybe the game presents different things.”

Both Colombia and Mexico employed a smothering high press supported by woman-marking in midfield but after a learning curve, the USWNT was able to exploit this in an effort to get on the front foot.

“The way Columbia was pressing us left a lot of space in behind and left a lot of space for our midfielders and our forwards to be one one-v-one and that’s where we want them ultimately,” Naomi Girma explained. “So I think it was just us recognizing where we were numbers up and taking advantage of that.”

Recent experiences against Colombia surely helped the USWNT recognize where these advantages lie. Preparing for Colombia to trigger their press on any backward pass, the Americans were able to draw their opponents in while stretching the field vertically to send more direct passes to attackers. Morgan was particularly impressive in these moments.

“We knew that we couldn’t have too many short passes in a row,” Morgan dissected while carrying her daughter Charlie in her arms postmatch. “Columbia wanted to step up, especially if we had a back pass. They wanted to be super aggressive. So I was expecting some of those longer passes in the air, on the ground, it didn’t matter. It was really important for me to be that link-up person and kind of relieve the pressure that the defense was feeling as Columbia was starting to read those triggers.”

Becoming that outlet allowed the USWNT a different option which they could not find against Mexico. As Girma noted, this vertical stretching of the pitch also opened space in midfield for the Americans to progress the ball, therefore opening the game for the USWNT to play on the front foot. 

Improved organization in pressing from Morgan and Horan along with the continuation of chance creation from the flanks directly led to the goals but it was an intelligent and aware response to their loss against Mexico that caused the USWNT to find their bounce back win on Sunday night.

Next up, Canada awaits in the semifinal at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego on Wednesday night where it will be a homecoming for San Diego Wave players Abby Dahlkemper, Naomi Girma, Jaedyn Shaw, and Alex Morgan.

“I think we’re ready for some new scenery and definitely the San Diego gals are really excited to get home,” Morgan shared, looking ahead to the semifinal. “I absolutely love playing [at Snapdragon] so we know that stadium really well. We know we’re gonna have great fans and it’s gonna be a good game against Canada.”


  1. Nothing wrong with going direct over the top. That’s called finding solutions to win a game. To many teams I see today are more concerned with passing the ball 500 times then actually getting the ball forward and into the back of the net. You have speed galore in attack if these countries want to high press then let them come and hit them with counter balls that allow your attackers to display their speed and 1v1 traits. Tha name of the game is to score more goals than your opponent.


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