After the U.S. victory against Nigeria, the USWNT finished Group D (Group of Death) in first place and move on to a relatively easy path into the semi finals. From now on in the knockout stage, there will be no room for mistakes.
The next USWNT match will be on Monday 22nd against Colombia who are participating in their second World Cup ever. For most people this will be an easy match for the U.S. since Colombia finished third in their group and are currently ranked number 28th in the FIFA World Rankings. However, Colombia had one of the biggest upsets in this tournament, winning 2-0 against France, so they should be taken lightly.
The USWNT won against Colombia in their last two meetings; the 2011 World Cup and the 2012 Olympic games.
U.S. Coach Jill Ellis seems to be trying different combinations of players and positions, but has not found the perfect one yet. She started Alex Morgan in the last game against Nigeria and let her play for 65 minutes, which is great because it shows that Morgan is recovering well from her injury and is getting more comfortable in the field again.
[quote_box_center]”Recovery is our first focus but having five days in between actually gives us an extra day to work on some things,” Holiday said. “It’s not just necessarily the intensity of practice but being able to walk through things and being on the field together I think is huge for us.”[/quote_box_center]
The U.S. defense looks very good so far, with Julie Johnston Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg and of course Hope Solo, who only allowed one goal so far.
[quote_box_center]”We can attack with confidence if we have a good back line,” Ellis told reporters after the Nigeria game. “It’s a shame we only scored one goal but we’re very happy to finish top of a difficult group.” [/quote_box_center]
Coach Jill put veteran players like Shannon Box and Christie Rampone to get some minutes in the second half of the game against Nigeria, allowing them to get some playing time as well enabling key contributors Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe to rest their legs. She is also gave Morgan Brian, who is the youngest on the squad, the chance to play in the first two matches to get more comfortable.
In the event the U.S. wins this match against Colombia, they will face China in the next round. China narrowly defeated Cameroon on Saturday and will have an additional two days of rest over the winner of tomorrow’s clash between our USWNT and Colombia.
The U.S. vs. Colombia game is going to be held in Edmonton, Canada at 8:00 pm ET.