MANAUS, Brazil (Aug. 9, 2016) – The U.S. Women’s National Team won its group for the fifth consecutive Olympic Games with a dramatic 2-2 draw with Colombia at Amazonia Arena in its final Group G match of the 2016 Olympic Games.
Already assured of advancing to the knockout rounds and needing only a point to win Group G after defeating New Zealand and France in its first two games, the USA fielded a much-changed side from its opening two games with the purpose of keeping the squad fresh in the face of the long trip to the hot and humid conditions of Manaus deep in the Brazilian Amazon.
The USA began the match on the front foot, keeping possession of the ball and generating a handful of chances at the offensive end. However, it was Colombia that took a surprise lead midway through the opening half via a Catalina Usme free kick.
Despite the setback, the USA equalized through Crystal Dunn just before halftime. The speedy attacker was also involved in the team’s second goal, assisting 18-year-old Mallory Pugh, who became the youngest ever player to score an Olympic goal for the U.S. WNT when she scored the go-ahead goal in the 60th minute.
Usme shocked the USA a second time in the final moments of the match, scoring a second free kick in the 90th minute that was enough to keep the U.S., which outshot Colombia 16-3 and generated a pair of breakaway chances, from collecting all three points but not enough to derail the team’s ambition of winning the group.
The USA (2-0-1; 7pts) finishes atop Group G with France (2-1-0; 6pts) also advancing to the knockout stage in second place. New Zealand (1-2-0; 3pts) finished in third and along with Colombia (0-2-1; 1pts) was eliminated from the competition.
The USA now awaits the result of the day’s later Group E game between Sweden and China, which will determine which of those two nations will advance alongside Australia as the best third-place teams. The U.S. will contest its quarterfinal on Friday at Mané Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia (12 p.m. ET; NBCSN).
Goal Scoring Rundown:
COL – Catalina Usme, 26th minute: Colombia was awarded a free kick 20 yards from goal toward the right side of the U.S. box and tacked a couple players on the end of the U.S. wall before the kick was taken. Catalina Usme took the kick for Colombia and curled a low, dipping shot just past her teammates in the wall, which knuckled downward in front of U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo and bounced beneath her into the back of the net. USA 0, COL 1 (SEE GOAL)
USA – Crystal Dunn (Carli Lloyd), 41st minute: The USA equalized before the break when Carli Lloyd unloaded a thunderous shot that Colombia goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda pushed onto the crossbar. The rebound fell to an unmarked Dunn in the box and the Olympic debutant made no mistake, tapping the ball into the center of the goal from close range. USA 1, COL 1 (SEE GOAL)
USA – Mallory Pugh (Crystal Dunn), 60th minute: Dunn set up the USA’s second goal with a blistering run down the left flank of Colombia’s defense before sending a low cross through the goal mouth that arrived at the feet of Mallory Pugh on the back right post. Pugh attempted a one-time volley on goal but it hit teammate Christen Press and came right back to her, whereupon the 18-year-old attacker dribbled past three defenders to the center of the box and snapped a left footed shot through a crowd of Colombia players into the back of the net to become the USA’s youngest ever goalscorer at an Olympic Games. USA 2, COL 1 (SEE GOAL)
COL – Catalina Usme, 90th minute: As stoppage time approached, Usme struck again, this time from a sharp angle out on the right wing. About 10 yards from the endline and near the right sideline, Usme whipped in a curling shot that flew through the goal mouth above the jostling players and into the far upper left corner of the goal for the dramatic late equalizer. USA 2, COL 2 (SEE GOAL) FINAL
Next on the Schedule: The U.S. WNT heads to Mané Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia for the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympic Games where the team could face any of Australia, Sweden or China based on the Group E result between the latter two. The USA’s quarterfinal will be played on Aug. 12 (12 p.m. ET; NBCSN).
- The USA is now 16-0-2 in 2016. The team has scored 57 goals and tallied 15 shutouts while allowing just six goals.
- The WNT is 5-0-1 all-time against Colombia, outscoring the South Americans 20-2 in 6 matches.
- This is the second consecutive Olympics in which the U.S. and Colombia have met with the USA winning the only previous Olympic meeting between the two nations 3-0 at London 2012.
- Crystal Dunn’s goal was her first in Olympic competition and the 15th of her career.
- The USA started in a 4-3-3 formation, featuring Christen Press at striker with Megan Rapinoe and Crystal Dunn on the wings, Carli Lloyd and Lindsey Horan patrolling center midfield with Morgan Brian as holding midfielder. Ali Krieger started at right back, Kelley O’Hara at left back with Whitney Engen and Becky Sauerbrunn in the middle. Hope Solo was in goal for her third consecutive match. Lloyd and Sauerbrunn captained the USA.
- The lineup featured four changes from Saturday’s win against France: Krieger, Horan, Rapinoe and Press were in the starting lineup for the first time in the 2016 Olympics. Brian moved into a different position in the midfield and O’Hara moved to the left side, while Krieger was at right back.
- The game marked the first Olympic start for Krieger, Horan and Press, as well as Horan’s first start in a world championship tournament at the senior level.
- Rapinoe played in her first game since she suffered a torn ACL in early December of last year. Her last appearance was in a 3-1 win against Brazil on Oct. 25, 2015 in Orlando, Fla.
- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Colombia
Date: Aug. 9, 2016
Competition: 2016 Olympic Games; Group G
Venue: Amazonia Arena; Manaus, Brazil
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET (6 p.m. local)
Weather: 90 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 2 2
COL 1 1 2
COL – Catalina Usme 26th minute
USA - Crystal Dunn (Carli Lloyd) 41
USA - Mallory Pugh (Crystal Dunn) 59
COL - Cataline Usme 90
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 6-Whitney Engen, 5-Kelley O’Hara; 14-Morgan Brian (3-Allie Long, 65), 9-Lindsey Horan,10-Carli Lloyd (capt.) (13-Alex Morgan, 46); 15-Megan Rapinoe (2-Mallory Pugh, 33), 12-Christen Press, 16-Crystal Dunn
Subs not used: 7-Meghan Klingenberg, 8-Julie Johnston, 17-Tobin Heath, 18-Alyssa Naeher
Head Coach: Jill Ellis
COL : 18-Sandra Sepulveda; 6-Liana Salazar, 9-Orianica Velasquez (5-Isabella Echeverri, 46), 13-Angela Clavijo, 14-Nataly Arias, 17-Carolina Arias; 3-Natalia Gaitan (capt.), 15-Tatiana Ariza (7-Ingrid Vidal, 80), 10-Leicy Santos, 11-Catalina Usme; 16-Lady Andrade (4-Diana Ospina, 62)
Subs not used: 1-Catalina Perez, 2-Carolina Arbelaez, 8-Mildrey Pineda, 12-Nicole Regnier
Head Coach: Fabian Taborda
Stats Summary: USA / COL
Shots: 16 / 3
Shots on Goal: 8 / 3
Saves: 1 / 6
Corner Kicks: 10 / 0
Fouls: 15 / 11
Offside: 3 / 0
COL – Liana Salazar (caution) 72nd minute
USA – Ali Krieger (caution) 86
COL – Natalia Gaitán (caution) 88
Referee: Teodora Albon (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Petruta Iugulescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Maria Sukenikova (SVK)
Fourth Official: Melissa Borjas (HON)
Budweiser Woman of the Match: Becky Sauerbrunn