The U.S. Women’s team in 2011 were so close to winning the World Cup for the first time since 1999. That was until they blew two late leads on penalty kicks. The U.S. had many chances to put the game out of reach, but failed to capitalize.
According to FIFA statistics, the U.S. team took 27 shots on goal, but 22 of those shots were off-target. Japan, took 14 shots and only 8 were off-target. The U.S. team also had eight corner kicks and Japan had four.
The U.S. missed three penalty kicks after the game ended in regulation at 1-1. The game was also tied 2-2 at the end of overtime. In both regulation and overtime, the U.S. scored first only to have Japan answer.
The U.S. started their chase for another World Cup title on Monday by defeating Australia 3-1. Australia is ranked number 10 in the world. They then face number 5 Sweden coached by former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage. Pia Sundhage has since been replaced by Jill Ellis who was born in England and played soccer at William & Mary. Their last contest is against number 33 Nigeria. The group that the U.S. have been placed in is a tough group, but a group that the U.S. can make it out of.
This hungry group of women who are ranked number 2 in the world behind Germany will look to overcome what happened in 2011 and show that they aren’t the same team. While the roster has changed a bit with some new faces, the mindset is still the same. The goal is still the same: WIN THE WORLD CUP.
The first goal for the U.S. was a 22 yard blast by Megan Rapinoe off a deflection that caught the goalkeeper, Melissa Barbieri, off guard in the 12th minute. Australia countered with a goal by Lisa de Vanna in the 27th minute after the U.S. failed to clear a free kick. The second goal for the U.S. was in the 61st minute off a beautiful cross pass from Sydney Leroux to Christen Press who finished beautifully with the one-timer in the bottom right corner. Sydney Leroux beat her defender, got to the end line and cut back. Christen Press put in the bottom right corner of the goal. Abby Wambach was trailing alongside Press in case there was a rebound. It was Press’ first World Cup goal. Rapinoe scored again when she took the ball off a tackle from Carli Lloyd and took it by herself and finished with a beautiful cross in the lower right corner of the goal post in the 78th minute.
The U.S. overall played well despite one lapse, one miscue on defense that allowed Australia to tie the game in the first half. The U.S. stayed aggressive and kept attacking Australia’s defense. Carli Lloyd was huge in the second half and deserved credit for keeping possessions alive for the Americans. She did so by making simple passes and finding the open player.
One notable highlight was the return of Alex Morgan. She put up a shot on goal but it was wide left. She looked rusty, but overall she looked good in the time she played.
The U.S. started off slow, but finished strong. They need to play with the intensity that they played with in the second half for the rest of the World Cup if they want to win another World Cup title.
6/12 vs. Sweden – 7 p.m. CT (FOX)
6/16 vs. Nigeria – 7 p.m. CT (FOX)