Rapinoe strikes twice, USWNT notch 3-1 win
The U.S. women overcame sloppy defense and a ferocious attack by Australia to gain three points in their first match–a 3-1 victory over the Aussies. Megan Rapinoe scored two goals (12′, 78′) to lead the American women, and Christen Press notched her first Women’s World Cup (WWC) goal in the win.
The Aussies’ attacked the entire match, and if not for stellar play from U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo, they might have ended up with a draw or worse. Solo made several diving stops throughout the match, and every single one of them was as important as the one before. She provides the ability for the U.S. to take chances on defense, but they had better play solid defense in their next match against Sweden.
Megan Rapinoe started the scoring in the 12th minute to put the U.S. up 1-0. After trapping the pass, she used footwork that would make Leo Messi proud, skirted through several defenders, and fired a shot from the top-left of the penalty box that ricocheted off of an Australian defender for the goal. Shortly thereafter, Australia notched the tying goal on a shot from Lisa De Vanna after a run through the American defense. The Americans then started to blitz Australia from the 37th minute until the end of the first half, but came up empty on several attempts.
After facing the Australian attack at the start of the second half, Rapinoe gathered the ball on a goal kick and was able to push it through on a streaking run down the left flank by Sydney Leroux. The ball was pushed in towards the box and Leroux crossed to a wide open Christen Press for the second goal of the match (61′), and put the U.S. in front 2-1. The goal marked Press’ first WWC goal and the 100th goal for the U.S. in WWC play all-time. Several minutes later, Rapinoe (78′) notched her second goal of the match after a Carli Lloyd tackle opened up the play, and put the U.S. up 3-1.
One of the biggest storylines leading up to the Women’s World Cup was whether or not 25-year-old forward Alex Morgan would be able to play in the first couple of matches for the U.S. That question was answered in the 79th minute when Morgan came in to replace Sidney Leroux. She seemed to be moving with no limitations, and was able to get a shot off and almost score. Look for Morgan to come off of the bench for another match, maybe two, and then possibly slide her way into the starting lineup.
In the next match, the Americans will be facing off against a Sweden team that let a victory slip through their fingertips. The Swedes had a 2-0 lead over Nigeria, as well as a 3-2 lead late, but Nigeria fired the equalizer in the 87th minute to earn the point. Due to the result of that match, Sweden is sure to come in and try to attack the USWNT and pickup the three points. If the U.S. can pull off another victory, they would most likely seal the deal and end up as the Group D winner.
If you thought that the Australia/USA match was a good one, just wait until Friday when Sweden plays the USA. The action will be heavy, and both sides are sure to attack with precision. In the words of Terrell Owens, “Have your popcorn ready.”
What are your thoughts on the 3-1 victory for the USA? If they play like they did in this match, will they be able to beat a tough Sweden team? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.
Dustin Brown covers the Women’s World Cup for MFST, and you can follow him on Twitter @SprtsWritingMan.