US Women’s National Team Defeat France in Thrilling Olympic Match
The US Women’s National Team did an ‘about face’ on Wednesday afternoon in Glasgow, Scotland after being dominated by France for the first 13 minutes and finding themselves down 2-0.
The opening Olympic match in Group G of Women’s Soccer found the US facing a team that hadn’t been defeated for 17 previous matches. This would clearly be the toughest match in group play for either team. So when the US went down two goals early, the first by Gaëtane Thiney in the 12th minute of play and the second by Marie-Laure Delie in the 14th, things looked a bit dismal for the US, who looked a shambles on the back line.
One of the the pregame features on the NBC Sports broadcast of the event was Abby Wambach speaking about the disappointment of the last Women’s World Cup failure for the US and how she would make sure she did anything within her power that every member of the team gave every last bit of effort in order to not taste failure again. And it was Wambach combined with a corner kick from Megan Rapinoe that dragged the US back into the match in the 19th minute of play when the big US forward rose above the crowd of French defenders and nodded the ball back across goal to get the US back on track.
While France still had the majority of dangerous play and possession, it was the US again in the 32nd minute who scored with the now usual suspect in Alex Morgan, who scored her 18th goal for 2012. US goalkeeper Hope Solo sent a long kick that flew over a jumping Wambach. The speedy Morgan read the play and made a run beyond the France defense in case her striker partner missed and the gamble paid off. She flicked the ball past on-rushing French goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi to tie the score.
Eleven minutes into the 2nd half the US seemed to thrust the dagger into the French team with a Carli Lloyd blast from 25 yards out. The shot and eventual game-winning goal, assisted again by Megan Rapinoe who had a much better second half, seemed to be the killer blow for the French team as they were never quite in the match after that 3rd unanswered goal.
The US scored one last goal and the 19th of the season for Morgan as she cleaned up a close range shot after a lot of work by her teammates in the 66th minute. After some good possession, Tobin Heath dribbled to the goal and crossed which slipped by several players from both teams before finding a wide open Morgan ready to tidy things up on the back post.
“You can’t look at only the first minutes or the last minutes, it’s the whole game,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “If you look at the whole game, I’m really proud of the team. Scoring four goals, and goals that were fantastic, that’s one way to prove that you are ready (for the Olympics). It was a little shaky beginning, but I think it was amazing the way we came back and responded to those two goals.”
With the win the US moves atop their group with all three points.
The future of the US Women’s National Team looks bright as Seven U.S. players made their Olympic debuts on Wednesday: left back Kelley O’Hara, right back Amy LePeilbet, midfielders Lauren Cheney, Tobin Heath and Megan Rapinoe and forwards Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux.