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U.S. Secures Place in Quarterfinal Phase of 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup with Dominating 3-0 Victory against Colombia

  • Heather O'Reilly, Megan Rapinoe and Bud Light Woman of the Match Carli Lloyd Continue USA’s Unbeaten Record in Group Play 
  • Hope Solo Sets Shutout Streak Record in Eighth Straight Clean Sheet 
  • U.S. Holds First Place in Group C Heading into Finale Against Sweden on July 6 in Wolfsburg at 2:30 p.m. ET Live on ESPN and Galavision

SINSHEIM, Germany (July 2, 2011)  A laser from Heather O'Reilly and the first career World Cup goals for Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd highlighted the USA’s dominating 3-0 victory against Colombia before a sold-out crowd of 25,475 at Rhein-Neckar-Arena.

With six points from the first two matches, the USA has secured advancement to the quarterfinal phase and now sits in first place in Group C ahead of Sweden based on a superior goal differential. Sweden has also qualified for the next round after snatching a 1-0 victory against Korea DPR in the early match. A win or a draw for the United States in its final first round match against the Swedes on July 6 in Wolfsburg (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) would secure the top spot in the group.

The United States and Colombia met for the first time in international competition, with the U.S. playing in a world record 32nd match in a FIFA Women’s World Cup. The victory extends the USA’s unbeaten streak in group play to an incredible 15-0-2 record since the inaugural event in 1991, and marks the first time the U.S. has recorded back-to-back shutouts in the group phase.

The U.S. began playing at a high tempo from the opening whistle, applying relentless pressure all over the field while preventing Colombia from finding any productive rhythm. Lori Lindsey, making her World Cup debut, combined in the center of the midfield with Bud Light Woman of the Match Lloyd to provide smothering defense. Throughout the opening stanza the U.S. deployed a varied attack, slipping balls into seams as well as finding Lauren Cheney and O’Reilly on the flanks.

The U.S. nearly struck gold in the seventh minute when O’Reilly dropped in a great cross to the far post for Abby Wambach. After taking a touch, she rifled a volley that forced Colombia goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda into a point-blank save. The rebound hopped in front of goal, but Amy Rodriguez couldn’t get down on the ball and her effort sailed over the bar.

Three minutes later the United States opened the scoring on a magnificent solo effort from O’Reilly. As Colombia tried to build out of the back, team captain Natalia Gaitan played a ball out to Liana Salazar who found it too hot to handle. O’Reilly pounced on the loose ball and fired an absolute laser from 33 yards out that blazed into the upper left corner. After scoring the third World Cup goal of her career and 30th overall, she and the rest of the starters gave a military-style salute to the crowd in honor of the large contingent of U.S. service personnel supporting the team in the stadium.

O’Reilly proved a menace throughout the half. At the 30-minute mark, she made a trademark run past her defender, delivering another pinpoint cross to the back post where Wambach slightly mistimed her jump and headed wide.

Colombia sniffed a chance in the 32nd minute when a through ball over the top appeared threatening with Katerin Castro running on, but U.S. captain Christie Rampone recovered with speed to foil the danger.

Lauren Cheney, once again starting at flank midfield, almost doubled the lead in the 36th minute. Amy LePeilbet kept the play alive after a clearance, pushing a pass wide to Cheney. She lined up a half-volley struck with pace that Sepulveda parried.

Both teams had a good look in first-half stoppage time. Colombia was first when Diana Ospina found space and ran at speed at the U.S. backline. The U.S. defenders alertly stepped up and held their line, putting Castro nearly two yards offside when she received the pass, rendering moot her shot that slipped under the sliding Solo. The U.S. marched to the other end and earned a corner that Lloyd headed back across goal. In the ensuing scrum, both Lloyd and Rachel Buehler had shots blocked, sending the U.S. into the interval ahead by a goal.

The U.S. outshot Colombia 15 to 1 in the first half, putting six shots on frame while Hope Solo didn’t need to make a single save. Solo broke her personal record for consecutive minutes without surrendering a goal (781) in her eighth straight shutout in all competitions, and her streak of 478 shutout minutes at the Women’s World Cup is second all-time to Nadine Angerer of Germany (622). With the start, she tied Mary Harvey for second most games ever played by a U.S. goalkeeper in a Women’s World Cup.

Sundhage made one substitution at half, bringing on Rapinoe for the second straight time in the tournament, this time pulling Rodriguez and shifting Cheney to forward, and the move paid off nearly straight away. From the left flank, Rapinoe delivered a throw-in to Cheney. After an excellent turn, she knifed a clever pass back to Rapinoe who took a smart touch inside before curling a high shot into the left side of the net. Rapinoe’s first World Cup goal was the fastest ever for a U.S. substitute in the tournament.

Colombia nearly pulled one back in the 53rd minute. After coming on as a sub a minute earlier, Orianica Velasquez almost made her first touch count when she found room and hammered a shot pegged for the top shelf, commanding Solo into a full stretch to push the ball wide.

Stephanie Cox was inserted for LePeilbet in the 56th minute and she too made an immediate impact, floating a ball into the center of the park to Lloyd 30 yards from goal. After controlling nicely and skillfully finding space, Lloyd’s shot from distance had wicked movement that confused Sepulveda. The ‘keeper got her mitts on the ball but was unable to keep it from crossing the goal line. The goal was the 28-year-old’s first in a World Cup and 28th of her international career.

Wambach constantly worked to put herself in good scoring positions throughout the game, and had several excellent scoring chances. One came after she got on the end of a cross from Ali Krieger in the 66th minute. Her header appeared bound for the lower corner, only to be blocked by Arias. One minute later, her left-footed volley curled just past the left post. In a play symbolic of her evening, Wambach raced for a 50-50 ball with Sepulveda in the 80th minute for which the goalkeeper arrived a split-second ahead. The ball caromed off Wambach’s knee and scooted tantalizingly towards goal, only to cruelly deflect off the right post.

The U.S. attacks came in waves (the Americans out-shot Colombia 27-12), and Rapinoe had a chance to put an exclamation point on the rout. Dribbling through the middle, she dished off to Cheney and then hovered at the top of the box. Cheney set the table with a perfect pass to Rapinoe right at the penalty spot, but her shot blasted off the crossbar.

- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Colombia
Date: July 2, 2011
Competition: 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup – Group C
Venue: Rhein-Neckar-Arena; Sinsheim, Germany
Kickoff: 6 p.m. local / Noon ET
Attendance: 25,475
Weather: 65 degrees, cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        1 2 3
COL                        0 0 0

USA – Heather O’Reilly                          12th minute
USA – Megan Rapinoe (Lauren Cheney)   50
USA-- Carli Lloyd (Stephanie Cox)           57

USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger, 19-Rachel Buehler, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 6-Amy LePeilbet (14-Stephanie Cox, 56); 9-Heather O’Reilly (17-Tobin Heath, 62),16-Lori Lindsey, 10-Carli Lloyd, 12-Lauren Cheney; 8-Amy Rodriguez (15-Megan Rapinoe, 46), 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 2-Heather Mitts, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 7-Shannon Boxx, 13-Alex Morgan,18-Nicole Barnhart, 21-Jill Loyden
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

COL: 12-Sandra Sepulveda; 5-Nataly Arias, 14-Kelis Peduzine, 3-Natalia Gaitan (capt.), 19-Fatima Montano; 4-Diana Ospina, 13-Yulieht Dominguez, 11-Liana Salazar (10-Yoreli Rincon, 55), 9-Carmen Rodallega; 18-Katerin Castro, 7- Catalina Usme (20-Orianica Velasquez, 53)
Subs not used: 1-Paula Forero, 2-Yuli Munoz, 6-Daniela Montoya, 8-Andrea Peralta, 15-Tatiana Ariza, 16-Lady Andrade, 17-Ingrid Vidal, 21-Alejandra Velasco
Head coach: Ricardo Rozo

Statistical Summary: USA / COL
Shots: 27 /12
Shots on Goal: 9 / 4
Saves: 4 / 6
Corner Kicks: 5 / 1
Fouls: 16 / 10
Offside: 2 / 7

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Abby Wambach (caution)        84th minute

Referee: Dagmar Damkova (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Maria Luisa Villa Gutierrez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Yolanda Parga Rodriguez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Jacqui Melksham (AUS)

Bud Light Woman of the Match: Carli Lloyd