USA 2, Spain 1
Phew! Alex Morgan and USA are still alive after a major (and somewhat surprising) challenge from a good Spain team.
USA ended up scoring both key goals via the penalty. The 2nd half penalty awarded to a weak contact on Rose Lavelle is sure to be discussed at length given it’s controversial nature in deciding the match. What was also quite interesting was that Alex Morgan was ready to take that 2nd penalty before the long VAR review caused Team USA to use Megan Rapinoe on her 2nd penalty attempt of the match instead. Rapinoe converted both penalties for goals in this match.
In the first half, USA got a quick penalty thanks to Tobin Heath’s aggressive play. Rapinoe made the conversion but Spain quickly equalized on a goal from Jennifer Hermosa.
Alex Morgan was involved in quite a number of plays in this one and was very physically handled by the Spanish defenders; Morgan was knocked down to the ground quite a number of times before being subbed off for Carli Lloyd in the 86th minute.
After looking very strong in the group stages, USA certainly has a lot to work on between now and the France match on Friday in Paris. For a half more week at least, the dream of a World Cup repeat (a feat only accomplished by Germany in Women’s World Cup) is still in play. USWNT can sure make life easier for all of their fans by playing better going forward.
SURVIVE AND ADVANCE FOR 3 MORE MATCHES!
USA was easily the most dominant squad in the group play of the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Although Jill Ellis’ side has sort of struggled (particularly by the USWNT’s lofty standard) for a couple of years since the last major competition (2016 Rio Olympics), USWNT appears to have successfully infuse a lot of new talent to the existing core that includes Cal women’s soccer alum Alex Morgan in her prime.
None of that group stage nor on paper dominance really matters now with the anything-can-happen knockout stage starting today for the Red, White, and Blue.
The United States will take on the up-and-coming Spain squad in the round of 16 today. The winner will face host France in the quarterfinal round in Paris on June 28th. France needed overtime to beat Brazil and World Cup leading scorer (men or women) Marta 2-1 yesterday.
USA easily won all three of their group matches (15-0 over Thailand, 3-0 over Chile, 2-0 over Sweden) while playing a lot of the bench and taking out Alex Morgan as a precautionary move in the latest Sweden match at the half. Expect USWNT stars like Morgan or Julie Ertz to play a full match today.
Speaking of stars...astronauts are watching the World Cup from the International Space Station.
Spain went 1-1-1 to finish 2nd in Group B. Spain beat South Africa 3-1, lost to Germany 1-0, and draw China 0-0. Jennifer Hermoso is their top scorer with two penalty goals.
Expect USA to come out on fire again to make a big statement to host France ahead of that much anticipated match.
Round of 16: United States of America vs. Spain
Where: Reims, France
When: 9 am PT
GO ALEX, GO USA, AND GO BEARS!