Sunday, September 23, 2007

USA Women Head To The Semis

Match report from du Nord reader Adam:

Quarterfinal Stage

USA 3-0 England

Finally, when facing a confident English side intent on springing an upset, team USA came to play. For after a sluggish 30 minutes that saw England control possession, the US took over the momentum of the game, scoring three unanswered goals in the second half to rout the English 3-0.

Early on, the US looked content sitting back, allowing England to control the game’s tempo. But apart from occasional runs by Eniola Aluko and Karen Carney, the English rarely ventured into the USA’s third of the field. Their best chance of the first half came when Carney swerved in a dangerous cross to the US six-yard line. Lunging for the cross, Jill Scott collided with US defender Stephanie Lopez and goalkeeper Hope Solo, hitting Lopez in the head with her cleat.

Lopez left the game to receive treatment and US fans saw shades of the American’s first match, where North Korea scored twice while Abby Wambach had a gash in her head stitched shut. This time, the US didn’t let their opponent get any good looks at goal.

Once Lopez returned to the field, the US began to control the game with quick, one and two touch passing. Just before halftime, the US missed two good chances. Wambach hit a Lopez cross over goal, and Kristine Lilly had a shot tipped over the bar.

The US came out strong after halftime, winning two quick corner kicks. On the second corner, Wambach freed herself at the back post and headed home her fourth goal of the tournament. Ten minutes later, in the 57th minute, the US found itself two goals up when Shannon Boxx won a tackle at the top of the English box and slipped her left footed shot inside the near post. The last US goal came three minutes later, when Cat Whitehill hit a long cross toward England’s penalty box that keeper Rachel Brown misjudged. Lilly ran on to the ball and easily slipped it into the open goal.

Finding themselves with thirty minutes left to play and three goals down, the English struggled to get back into the match. Leslie Osborne, who typically doesn’t start for the US in midfield if Boxx does, kept England’s star player Kelly Smith quiet for the entire match—Smith’s first shot of the game wasn’t until the 89th minute.

With the US playing poorly in the first round of the World Cup, an English upset didn’t seem too far fetched. The US team’s dominant second-half performance ended England’s dream, though, and it seems the US is peaking at just the right time. The victory against England puts the US through to the semifinals where they’ll face the dangerous Brazilians.

For a change of pace, here’s a match report from the England Football Association.

And here’s the requisite post-game analysis from US Soccer.

With quotes from USA players and coach Greg Ryan.


Blogger mamacita chilena said...

AWESOME! I'm so glad we're through and now I might actually get to see the next matches on T.V.

U.S. v. Brazil should be amazing! Let's just hope the result is better than the men's team's result was :)

11:37 PM  

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