August 9, 2016
A QUESTIONABLE SOLO PERFORMANCE
Despite surrendering late free kick in 2-2 tie with Colombia, USA women still wins Olympic Group G
MANAUS, Brazil – It’s a good thing the United States’ 2-2 draw with Colombia was a group stage match and not a knockout round encounter.
|Hope Solo struggled in the net for the USA women, who tied Colombia, 2-2, in their Group G finale.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
In one of her shakiest performances in 201 appearances with the national team, goalkeeper Hope Solo allowed two free kicks, including the equalizer by Catalina Usme in the 90th minute of their Group G encounter at Amazonia Arena Tuesday night.
Even though the Americans dropped points for the first time in the competition, they won the group. They will play a third-place team in a quarterfinal match in Brasilia Friday. Depending on the results of the day's latter matches, the USA could play either Australia, China or Sweden.
Usme connected on her dramatic goal, drilling a free kick from the right side over the outstretched arm of goalkeeper Hope Solo, leaving the four-time gold medalists stunned. Kelley O’Hara committed the foul to set up the free kick.
That goal wasn’t the poorest part of Solo’s performance. That occurred in the first half.
Most of the opening half was played in the Colombian end as the Americans constantly pressured their foes.
Midfielder Carli Lloyd came close to giving the USA the lead in the third minute as her header off a Megan Rapinoe left-wing cross bounded off the crossbar and out of bounds. Rapinoe made her first start since October after injuring her ACL last December, although she was replaced by Mallory Pugh in the 33rd minute. Rapinoe is far from being fully fit and it was believed to have been a planned substitution.
On the South Americans' first penetration into USA territory, Rapinoe fouled Carolina Arbelaez 24 yards out on the right side. Usme fired a 24-yard free kick through the hands and legs of an embarrassed Solo and into the goal to lift Colombia into a stunning 1-0 lead in the 26th minute. It was the first time Colombia had scored against the red, white and blue.
The USA equalized in the 41st minute. Christen Press flicked a long pass to an onrushing Lloyd, whose shot was saved by goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda. The ball bounded off the bar to Crystal Dunn, who slotted it home from five yards, knotting things up at 1-1.
The 18-year-old Pugh became the youngest American player to score an Olympic goal to break the deadlock in the 59th minute. After taking a pass from Dunn on the right side, the midfielder found some space for herself by running to her left before firing a shot from atop the box for a 2-1 advantage.