With the 1-0 win against Nigeria, the USWNT finishes up as the lead team in group D for the 2015 Women’s World Cup. There was a lot of expectation for Alex Morgan, as this was the first game in 2 months that she actually started. Even though she had missed a few opportunities throughout the game, she looked quick and sharp in the 64 minutes she played. Abby Wambach was the one who score the winning-goal.
This was a very interesting game to watch since Nigeria and the U.S. have very different playing styles. The U.S. definitely held possession for the most part, looking confortable passing around. Nigeria tried using their speed and agility to outrun the Americans and catch them with the counterattacks. The Nigerian defenders also played smart and tried to catch the U.S. forwards offside whenever possible.
This strategy almost didn’t work when Wambach found herseld alone inside the box and headed a ball to Julie Johnston, who unlucky to be called offside. At the end of the first half, Rapinoe sent a cross from the corner and Abby was able to put it in with her left foot. This is the Abby 14th goal in World Cups, which is 1 goal below the Brazilian star Marta who has the most.
Abby was named woman of the match, most likely because of her goal, but most fans actually believe that Johnston was by far the best on the field. The U.S. defender helped all over the field. She blocked Nigeria’s best chance in a miraculos recovery tackle, and she created opportunities up front. Johnston had an early goal disallowed when she was called offside as she got on the end of a trademark Wambach knockdown.
Morgan had a couple of great chances on the second half, but was not able to finish them. With 65 minutes on the clock, she was subbed by Canadian-born Sydney Leroux who entered into the game with fresh legs. Leroux outran the Nigerian defender Sarah Nnodim, who committed a foul and got her second yellow card with about 20 minutes on the clock. After that the U.S. dominated the remainder of the game.
As far as the Round of 16, the 1-1 result for the Sweden and Australia game brings the Matildas to second place in the group, facing Brazil next on Sunday, 21st. The next game for the U.S. will be against either Colombia or England on Monday, the 22nd.
Update: Bracket for the remaining matches.