US muscle out Colombia 3-0 and head to San Diego for Canada showdown

February 3 – In a bad tempered quarter final, particularly in the first half, the USA beat Colombia 3-0 in the BMO Stadium in Los Angeles. The US now move on to face Canada in the semi-finals in San Diego on Wednesday.

After having been picked apart by Mexico in their final group game, this result went a long way to re-establishing the USA’s reputation against a nation that excelled at the 2023 World Cup and pushed Brazil close in their group at the W Gold Cup a week ago.

Colombia struggled to match the USA’s strength and willingness to use it. Ultimately they were bullied out of the game and their pleas for help fell on the referee’s deaf ears.

For US interim coach Twila Kilgore it will be a relief to have found a reliable formation after four matches of major team changes, having again made seven changes to the starting XI from the Mexico game.

Gone were the veteran centreback pairing of Becky Sauerbrunn and Abby Dahlkemper, as well as Crystal Dunn at left back. Rose Lavelle was also dropped to the bench, but Alex Morgan retained her starting position up front.

Youth was added with 19-year old Jaedyn Shaw in the attacking line-up, while Jenna Nighswonger returned for a start on the left.

Colombia made two changes from the team that beat Puerto Rico, bringing Daniela Montoya and Lorena Bedoya back into midfield

Colombia opened with Linda Caicedo releasing Maria Usme early on but Usme couldn’t control the ball to cause a real threat.

With the US forcing the pace, the Colombians were being bullied off the ball too easily in midfield, exposing their back line.

On 10’ Alex Morgan was through in box with the ball at her feet but was bowled over by Jorelyn Carabaldi. Lindsey Horan stepped up and pushed the ball to Natalia Girardo’s right – 1-0 and the US had stamped their mark on the game.

With tempers fraying on both sides the US won a corner on 15’ that Jaedyn Shaw headed wide.

Shaw forced a Colombia mistake from the restart but couldn’t get the ball over the line. Two minutes after that she hammered a shot over that should have hit the back of the net.

With as much incident happening off the ball as on it, Trinity Rodman picked up a yellow card for a petulant kick out that could easily have been a red.

Colombia were rattled, losing the physical battle and struggling to clear the ball from their own half. The US, winning the ball too easily, attacked down the left, feeding Jenna Nighswonger who overlapping fired across the hapless Girardo 2-0.

With their composure returning Colombia began to build possession and play higher up the pitch.

On 31’ Caicedo hit a shot over as Colombia worked themselves back into the game.

On 37’ Colombia almost pulled a goal back. Finding fluidity on the right the ball was pulled back across goal to Caicedo whose shot was brilliantly pushed round her left post by Alyssa Naeher in the US goal. It was a crucial save at the right time.

Into six minutes of added time the US, in what had become a rare incursion into the Colombia half, released Rodman on the right who crossed to Shaw arriving at speed in the middle to score – 3-0.

Three minutes later Horan was tripped on the edge of the box, dead centre in front of goal. Horan’s free kick hit the post. The half closed out with the momentum shifted back in the US favour.

Colombia may have ended up shading possession over the half, but the US had three goals and the game was pretty much sealed.

The US should have had four on 66’ minutes. A ball across to Morgan on 2m somehow went over the bar. The US missed another open goal 10 minutes later with Olivia Moultrie sidefooting wide.

Twila Kilgore rotated her bench as the US made plans for a 120 mile trip down the coast to San Diego and a meeting with Canada on Wednesday night.

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