USWNT move on to play France after 2-1 victory over Spain
After defeating Sweden 2-0 and placing at the top of their group, the USWNT moves on to play Spain in the round of 16. Having only beaten Spain 1-0 Early in 2019 from a Christen Press goal, this game will be the hardest game yet for the U.S as they face a well organized/underdog spanish team looking to win the world cup for the first time. With favorites Australia being knocked out by Norway and France going through to the quarterfinals, the round of 16 has already seen some upsets (VAR playing a big part in them). For the U.S, this is just another game for them. They win, they play France in the quarter finals. They lose, they go home in what would be their earliest exit from a world cup.
Line up: Alyssa Naeher (1), Crystal Dunn (19), Becky Sauerbrunn (4), Abby Dahlkemper (7), Kelley O’Hara (5), Sam Mewis (3), Julie Ertz (8) Rose Lavelle (16), Megan Rapinoe (15), Alex Morgan (13), Tobin Heath (17)
First half: Starting strong, the U.S was able to dominate possession. Getting the first goal of the game,U.S winger Tobin Heath draws a foul in the box. Stepping up to take it, Megan Rapinoe slots the ball in the bottom left corner in the 6th minute. Putting the U.S up 1-0. The celebrations quickly came to an end in the 9th minute, as Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher makes a questionable pass to Center back Becky Sauerbrunn. Losing the ball Spain pounces on the opportunity and scores from outside the eighteen. Spain’s goal makes it the first goal the U.S has conceded in this world cup. Though the two teams created very threatening chances, neither were able to convert in the first half as they were evenly matched.
Second half: As the second half kicked off, both teams struggled to create chances up until the 70th minute when Rose Lavelle went down in the box, giving the U.S an opportunity to go up ahead on their opennents and score what could be the game winner. After five minutes of VAR review (a system just implemented into the women’s game for the first time this year) the referee stays with her decision ad awards the U.S their second penalty. Proceeding to take the penalty Rapinoe slots the ball home again in the bottom left corner, putting the U.S up 2-1. With the pressure mounting and late substitutions, the U.S is able to pull off the victory against Spain and move on to the Quarter finals.
Plain and simply, this was the U.S’s worst performance of the tournament. And they know it. Which is why this was the exact kind of game the U.S needed. Struggling to create chances and dips in concentration, it is clear that the team will have to learn from their mistakes in order to move on in the tournament. With the powerful front three Morgan, Heath and Rapinoe (aka ATM) performing below standard, this game did shine a light on two rising stars of the U.S team in the mid-field for Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis who ran the center of the field. Making pinpoint passes and taking defenders on one-vs-one, the two looked unstoppable.
After much anticipation and constant media coverage sense the groups were named for this years Women’s World Cup, the USWNT will take on France, in what will be the most watched women’s soccer game in history.