PRE – The buildup to this one has been nigh-unsufferable, as Lady Andrade has kept talking and the American WoSo punditocracy has kept sticking their finger in Colombia’s collective chest while muttering “oh, yeah?”. At times, it’s made What Pia Said-gate look palatable in comparison, but it’ll finally get settled on the field here. France upset aside, Colombia are still major underdogs, especially with their starting keeper Sepulveda out via suspension. It’ll probably be a decisive U.S. win, but the question is if it’ll be through a performance supporters can finally get behind.
4’ – U.S. has a free kick chance in a dangerous spot on the far flank, AKA a Rapinoe special. Her delivery is aimed at Johnston, but Colombia block her off well and clear.
4’ – Big chance for the U.S. Colombia surrounds Morgan on a throw, but she still manages to poke out to a wide open Heath in the arc. First-time shot, low and headed to far post is tipped but spilled by Perez. Wambach charges and slides into ball and keeper, sending the ball in, but the flag is up for offside.
8’ – Krieger isn’t getting fooled by Lady Andrade’s tricks on the ball, and the Colombian isn’t going to get the call as she goes down in the box on a just barely there obstruction call. Montoya pounces on the loose ball, but her weak shot is deflected and easily collected by Solo.
10’ – Heath gets physical with Velasquez on the near flank, and the official whistles for a foul, giving Colombia a chance to swing in a dangerous free kick. Her effort is cleared, with Montoya driving a follow-up acres high.
14’ – Long ball nodded on by Morgan to Wambach near the top of the arc. Wambach turns and nails a rising volley that Perez does well to deflect.
16’ – Holiday swings a long diagonal ball to Klingenberg on the left flank. She cuts back to get around Carolina Arias and crosses towards the far post, but it whistles wide of the target.
17’ – YELLOW CARD – United States (Holiday) – Ack. Holiday comes in late and clatters Rincon, with the Colombian flying to the turf. Already on a yellow, Holiday now misses a prospective quarterfinal. Again, ack.
19’ – Holiday has a corner kick deflected around in the box before Johnston’s shot is deflected over for another corner. Perez totally misjudges the second delivery, but Lloyd and Wambach seem to run into each other at the far post as it goes wide.
28’ – From the near flank, Holiday hooks a ball high and into the area. Morgan nods a header down into the ground, but Perez stretches high to tip it over. The keeper punches, letting Colombia clear.
33’ – Heath crosses back towards the edge of the box, but Rapinoe puts a free header wide. It hasn’t been a promising half offensively.
37’ – Colombia are doing a reasonable job of heading away every diagonal ball the U.S. tries to hoof into the box. Something has to change for the Americans to try and break through this defense.
38’ – Vidal goes over pretty damn easily at the slightest of contact from Krieger, giving Colombia a dangerous free kick diagonally out from the near corner edge of the box. Rapinoe heads the free kick behind for a corner. Colombia plays short to Andrade who is triple teamed for another corner. Short corner has Rincon eventually delivering to the far post, but the U.S. clears again.
41’ – YELLOW CARD – United States (Rapinoe) – More aggro, as Vidal again goes down easily near the far corner flag. The set pieces are certainly mounting for Colombia late in the half. U.S. initially clears, but Rapinoe then shoulders Velasquez over at the far sideline. It’s a foul, but bloody hell, if every challenge like that was booked, we wouldn’t finish with fifteen players on the pitch. Rapinoe’s booking means she misses the quarterfinal too.
42’ – From that, the U.S. puts up a half-assed two person wall with Heath and Klingenberg, and Velasquez takes note, slipping a low, hard shot between the two that just slices wide of the post.
HT – A pretty dire half for the U.S., who put up no goals and saw two players ruled out for the potential quarterfinal through yellow card accumulation. The offense looks archaic, with the few attempts they did generate stopped by a few smart saves from Perez. Going the other way, the defense conceded a lot of cheap fouls with a painfully picky referee overseeing things. The U.S. defended set pieces well and have limited opportunities in the run of play, but it’ll only take one if the offense can’t get going.