USA v. Colombia
8:00 PM – FOX Sports 1
Commonwealth Stadium – Edmonton
Few had realized the bad blood that still lingered after U.S. defeated Colombia. A 3-0 victory in group play of the 2012 Olympics saw punches and tempers fly for both teams.
But this week Colombian star and captain Lady Andrade reminded us that her team has not forgotten that game, and when they take the field against the America in the Women’s World Cup Round of 16, those memories will be adding fuel to their fire. This time around Lady Andrade is looking to land a bigger blow by sending the U.S. home early.
The U.S. advanced out of the Group of Death in first place, but throughout their first three games, the team was criticized for a list of complaints that they cannot seem to fix, particularly their forward line and lack of goals. There were signs of life in the team’s last game against Nigeria as Alex Morgan got her first World Cup start alongside Abby Wambach.
Colombia was the victors in the upset of the tournament when they defeated France in the second game of Group play. Despite that impressive win, the team fell to third place at the end of the opening round. Las Cafeteras have shown they possess all the tools to conquer an elite team. They remain strong and determined for 90 minutes with a solid defense, a technical midfield and most importantly they take advantage of their opportunities.
The downside for Colombia is that they have lost their starting keeper Sandra Sepulveda, who accrued two yellow cards in the Group Stage and will have to sit this one out.
Regardless of their keeper, Colombia’s game plan needs to focus on the attack. They will have to disrupt any rhythm the U.S. attempts to establish while looking for quick counterattacking opportunities. They also need to limit the U.S. chances on net and set pieces. While the U.S. isn’t scoring too many goals, if Colombia lets the U.S. take too many quality chances on net, inevitably one of them will result in a goal.
For the US Women’s National Team, Julie Johnston and Becky Sauerbrunn need to keep the US’s defensive line unbreakable. Against Nigeria, they were able to fend off counterattacks and dropped the back line in order to keep play in front of them. Against Colombia, they will once again be on the lookout for the counterattack but need to push a higher line in order to stifle Lady Andrade in the middle of the pitch.
The U.S. offense may finally be able to find its footing in this match. Alex Morgan will be able to bring chemistry and a spark to the American offense that is dearly missed. Unfortunately she was missing a final touch in the last game. With a more well rounded strike partner (a powerful and quick Sydney Leroux potentially), she may finally be able to crack the U.S.’s scoring problem.
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