The United States are into the World Cup quarterfinals. The Americans beat Colombia, 2-0, in their first knockout stages match to move on in the tournament and keep the dream of winning a record third Women's World Cup alive.
The U.S. wasn't especially good in the match, but a red card early in the second half sent Colombia down to 10 men and the Americans rolled from there. Alex Morgan got a goal then Carli Lloyd followed with a penalty kick to set up a match-up with China in the next round.
Things started beautifully for the U.S. as they dominated the opening six minutes. They put Colombia on their heels and actually put the ball in the back of the net, only to have it ruled out for offside.
After the fast start, the U.S. leveled out and looked entirely inept going forward. They didn't create chances or even pressure the Colombia back line. They even let Colombia keep the ball for stretches and looked nothing like the dominant team we've come to expect. But despite it all, the defense was outstanding and Hope Solo wasn't involved, let alone tested.
After a scoreless first half, the U.S. got a break early in the second half. A brilliant ball by Megan Rapinoe found Morgan, who was in on goal. The Colombian goalkeeper came out and took out Morgan, earning a red card and giving the U.S. a penalty. Abby Wambach missed the frame with her spot kick, but with Colombia down a player the rest of the way, they were just about done.
Not long after the U.S. went up a player, they scored when Lauren Holiday slipped a delightful ball in for Morgan. The striker shot from a tight angle and caught the new goalkeeper cheating on a potential cross so she got a soft goal for the 1-0 lead. Another goal followed when Rapinoe's fancy footwork got her past the Colombia defense and forced a foul in the box. This time Lloyd converted the penalty kick for the 2-0 lead.
Up 2-0, the U.S. cruised to a win and into the quarterfinals, but it wasn't without negatives. Not only did they struggle for stretches, but Rapinoe and Holiday both got yellow cards that will see them suspended in the quarterfinals.
The U.S. will take on China on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in a quarterfinal match-up.