USA Roll on after Colombia Win


Megan Rapinoe has a birthday message for Ali Krieger after scoring
Alex Todd/


by Ger Harley at Hampden Park, Glasgow

The ticket sales for today’s double header were once again disappointing with only 5.5 k changing hands for cash and around 16.5 k handed out for nothing. There must be a significant loss being made on the football side of things despite the Olympics being heavily sponsored.

So much so that all the water coolers and hand dryers in the toilet facilities in Hampden have all their brand names taped over as they are not provided by companies which have paid for the privilege of having their names pasted everywhere.

After Korea beat the Colombians on the first day of the Olympic tournament, most fully expected the Americans to take this game at a stroll and pick up another three points.

The USA were using their red and white hooped strip which reminded local fans of Hamilton Academicals so did not look out of place in Scotland.

Within a couple of minutes the Americans pulled the Colombian defence apart with Heather O’Reilly beating outrushing ‘keeper Sanda Sepulveda to the ball on the edge of the box but her pull back to the centre of the penalty box failed to find a teammate.

Sepulveda had to be sharp off her line shortly after this as Alex Morgan strode into her area on the left. The Colombians will have to watch the three player strike force the USA were employing as their defensive luck may not hold out for 90 minutes.

The Americans did get the ball in the net in nine minutes through Lauren Cheney but she had pulled down Natalia Gaitan to get to the ball. Just on 12 minutes Abby Wambach brought out the first real save of the day as her rising shot from the left of the penalty area needed Sanda Sepulveda’s hand to see it safely over the bar. The USA were getting into their stride with willing runners from the back overlapping to beat the offside trap tactic employed by the Colombians.

At the other end, quick feet from Lady Andrade fooled the American defence and allowed her to head to the by-line. However, her cross was disappointing and never cleared the first defender on its way to her teammates. With 25 minutes gone, the Americans were in control without really troubling the opposition. The procession stats would be heavily in favour for the Americans but as the Spanish men’s side found out against Japan, possession without a goal means nothing.

A free-kick from captain Christie Rampone just inside the opposition half troubled Sanda Sepulveda in goal as she leapt for but lost the ball and fell awkwardly and required treatment once the ball was out to safety. With the midfield congested, the Colombians were making more success with a ball that missed this area out. One such move saw dangerwoman Orianica Velasquez get the ball in the centre of the 18 metre line but her attempted lob failed to trouble Hope Solo in goal.

Megan Rapinoe showed just how to make such a move pay when in the 35th minute her well placed lob from the left beat 5’6’’ Sepulveda in the Colombian goal. Lobs seemed to become the order of the day as in the 37th minute from just 8 metres into the American half, Maria Usme nearly caught out Solo who never thought there was any danger to her goal.

She may have been unsighted but she managed to react in time to grab the ball. As the half moved into additional time, Rapinoe nearly doubled her and the USA’s tally with a point blank ball heading for the net from a pull back at the post only to see captain Natalia Gaitan on the line to clear the ball.

Half-time: USA 1 Colombia 0

The second half kicked-off with dark clouds hanging over Hampden Park but the pitch bathed in sunshine. I was joined in the press-box by some of the French coaching staff who were on a spying mission ahead of their game with Korea. The French will complete their group games against Colombia on 31 July at Old Trafford.

The first five minutes saw USA set up camp within 18 metres of the Colombian goal. There did appear to be occasional over enthusiasm to get the ball into the net when a second’s delay before making a pass may have proved more fruitful. More hurry, less speed in terms of goals. The USA were over crowding the penalty box but perhaps were having too many choices which inevitably meant the wrong one was taken. Colombian players in numbers were making life difficult to get the ball to the right player for the Americans.

When the Americans started to stretch the game lengthways it paid dividends. Some good interplay from the half way line between Abby Wambach and Tobin Heath who fed the advancing Wambach again resulted in the tall American getting the goal her efforts deserved.

The Colombians appeared to be wilting under the constant pressure and another goal was inevitable. This time it was Carli Lloyd who got on the scoresheet with the defence posted missing as the USA moved the ball quickly into the danger area with Megan Rapinoe providing the final pass.

That was the end of the scoring and also Colombia’s interest in the competition. USA have qualified with six points but will have to see how Korea DPR do against the French to see if they need to win their last game and pick which side they meet in the Quarter finals on 3 August.

USA: Hope Solo, Heather Mitts Christie Rampone, Kelley O’Hara, Heather O’Reilly (Tobin Heath 67 mins), Carie Llyod, Lauren Cheney, Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach (Syndey Leroux 78 mins), Megan Rapinoe (Amy Rodriguez 80 mins), Rachel Buehler.
Unused Subs:, Becky Sauerbrunn, Amy le Peilbet, Shannon Boxx, Nicole Barnhart

Colombia: Sanda Sepulveda, Tatiana Ariza (Liana Salazar 71 mins) Natalia Gaitan, Natalia Ariza, Orianica Velasquez, Carmen Rodallega (Ana Montoya 71 mins), Maria Usme, Yulieht Dominguez, Kelis Peduzine, Ingrid Vidal (Melissa Ortiz 86 mins), Lady Andrade
Unused subs: Stefany Castano, Nataly Araias, Daniela Motoya, Hazleydi Rincon,


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