The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) defeated South American side Colombia to reach the semifinals of the W Gold Cup. Goals from Lindsey Horan, Jenna Nighswonger and Jaedyn Shaw, all in the first half, led to a comfortable victory. Moreover, it was a major bounce back from a poor showing against Mexico to close the group stage. That 2-0 loss made the quarterfinal clash more challenging, but a strong performance on Sunday righted any wrongs.

The first-half display demonstrated all that this USWNT can do right. Despite the criticism for the World Cup exit in 2023 and the second-ever loss against Mexico, this game returned the USWNT to elite status. Credit that to interim head coach Twila Kilgore’s move to make six changes to her starting lineup compared to the Mexico game. An inspired performance shrugged off the Colombians’ physical playing style that brought success in the group stage. Aggressive pressing from the USWNT played a key role in delivering a crucial early lead.

Lindsey Horan won the ball in the final third and she slipped in Alex Morgan. Colombian defender Jorelyn Carabali brought Morgan down in the box, and the United States had a penalty in the first 15 minutes. Horan stepped up and buried the penalty. Fewer than 10 minutes later, the USWNT doubled its lead via Jenna Nighswonger. The defender’s second goal for the USMNT came after a clever flick from Alex Morgan with her head. Nighswonger took the shot first time and slotted the shot home. Jaedyn Shaw powered home the USWNT’s third in first-half stoppage time after a cross from Trinity Rodman. That was Shaw’s third goal of the tournament, which is the best among the Americans.

Naeher voted player of the game

Despite the offensive outburst and strong play across the field, it was Alyssa Naeher to earn woman-of-the-match honors. Naeher, making her 100th appearance for the USWNT, held Colombia scoreless in the CONCACAF W Gold Cup quarterfinal. The American made three saves on the night, more than she made in her previous two games combined in the W Gold Cup. Two of those were great saves, too.

For example, Linda Caicedo, the talisman in the Colombia attack, took a shot from distance that required a diving stop from Naeher. That was only minutes before the USWNT’s third, which put the game to bed before halftime. With the lead established, the USWNT shut the game down. Colombia continued to push forward, but a stout game from the USWNT back line and Naeher in the net ensured a convincing victory.

USWNT to face Canada in W Gold Cup semifinal

The quality of opponents continues to rise as the USWNT advances, though. Canada, which always provides the USWNT with a challenge, is coming off a 1-0 win over Costa Rica in the quarterfinals. That game required extra time, which may indicate faltering. However, one thing Canada has done well is defense. No team has managed to score on Canada so far in the W Gold Cup. Moreover, Bev Priestman’s side has scored 14 goals in four games at this tournament.

That is the task the USWNT has. Twila Kilgore’s side has had Canada’s number over the last few years. In their most recent meeting, the United States won 2-0 in the SheBelieves Cup.

This game against Canada is on Wednesday, March 6, at 10:15 p.m. ET. The contest is at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, CA. Coverage in the United States is available on Paramount+ for English-language coverage and ESPN+ for Spanish audiences.