Coming off of a game in which the USA had already reached the knockout rounds and qualified for the World Cup and... played like it, the team took on Costa Rica in the W Championship Semifinals. It was a hot day in Monterrey with temps in the mid-90s and the game did seem a bit sluggish at times. Still, the Americans needed a crisper performance and managed a good showing and overmatched Costa Rica on the way to a 3-0 win.
The USA lineup was strong but perhaps still had some surprises in the mix with Kelley O’Hara on the bench and Casey Murphy having won the top keeper spot for the tournament it would seem.
The Semifinal XI.— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) July 14, 2022
Costa Rica would be missing Rocky Rodriguez and Melissa Herrera from the starting XI as two of their star players started the game on the bench.
In the end, the USA would prevail and Costa Rica was largely left without much of anything in the way of chances in the game. It would be a better showing than against Mexico, but it’s clear that the team is still looking for a complete, peak performance in the tournament.
Gifs of a more dominant and productive performance
The USA began the game by creating chances early and often. Alex Morgan hit the post in the 3rd minute and Costa Rica had some trouble early giving the ball up in their own third while trying to get through the American press. The USA kept knocking on the door but through luck, missed execution, or good play Costa Rica was able to hold the score at nil-nil.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 34th minute thanks to Emily Sonnett when a ball from a corner was not cleared by Costa Rica and the midfielder poked the ball in from a few feet out.
It looked as if the USA had doubled their lead minutes later on a leaping volley from Alex Morgan, but offside was called in the buildup and the score remained at 1-0.
After a moment of indecision by Murphy saw the USA get away with not conceding an equalizer, the team bounced back by netting the second goal of the match. The goal was nicely set up by Rose Lavelle and Mal Pugh had no problem making the score 2-0.
The second half began and Vlatko opted to keep his XI the same while Las Ticas made two changes as Cristin Granados relieved Katherine Alvarado and Melissa Herrera entered for Priscila Chinchilla.
As the half wore on, the USA would search for a third goal but it was difficult to come by, though Sophia Smith had a chance on a nearly open net that she flubbed 10 minutes into the half. Just past the hour mark, three subs would come in as Megan Rapinoe took the spot of Mal Pugh, Naomi Girma entered for Alana Cook, and Ashley Sanchez came in for Lindsey Horan.
Noelia Bermudez would be pressed into action as the keeper made a save on a shot from Andi Sullivan in the 67th minute. The Americans made more changes with Smith coming off for Trinity Rodman and Lavelle exiting for Kristie Mewis with about 10 minutes to go.
The subs wouldn’t exactly re-energize the game as the the minutes ticked on. Still, the USA would find a third goal in the last minute of injury time as Ashley Sanchez scored on the final play of the game.