In a knockout round fueled by pregame comments by Colombian players like Lady Andrade and Yoreli Rincon, much was expected by spectators that tuned in to watch the heavy favorited United States versus the 28th ranked team in the world Colombia.
Even after a promising team win against Nigeria, the United States could be criticized again for lack of offensive creativity during the first half. Although maintaining possession against Colombia, Los Cafeteros were able to dictate the pace they wanted to play across the pitch.
The quickness of the Colombians frequently could be assessed to have frustrated the United States, with both Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe picking up bookings and will miss the quarterfinals due to yellow card accumulation (if the United States were to advance).
The United States seemed to be desperate to get the ball into their half of the pitch and into their penalty box. The creativity lacked with forced passes to try to reach Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach. 12 of the 15 fouls in the first half were granted to the United States. Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd also were running into each other off of the United States strength in set pieces (free kicks and corners).
Lady Andrade's side drove momentum and confidence throughout the first half even without possessing the ball. Much of the fouls could have been questionable to the extent of how reckless they came out to be. However, the referee really was not afraid of giving yellow cards and did not protect the players on warnings of suspension.
Even the Hope Solo was yet to really be tested; United States manager Jillian Ellis most likely had much to speak to the first team in the half-time locker room. Third string Colombian goalkeeper Catalina Perez had an outstanding first half with key saves from three shots on goal like that of Tobin Heath. She is originally from Boca Raton, Florida and is a sophomore at University of Miami.
GAME CHANGER: Almost immediately at the start of the half, a long ball to Alex Morgan sees her break the defensive line and draw a penalty at the corner of the box that saw goalkeeper Catalina Perez sent off with a red card. Goalkeeper Stefany Castano comes on for striker Ingrid Vidal to attempt to save penalty kick.
Abby Wambach completely misses the netting on the penalty kick, leaving the game scoreless even with a one man advantage. However, AGAIN immediately after saw the United States counter-attack down the pitch, Alex Morgan claims her third FIFA Women's World Cup goal off a deflection on the right side of the penalty box to make it 1-0.
Megan Rapinoe gets a no call on a penalty decision, but then a 'deja vu' moment occurs where Rapinoe draws a penalty on the left side of the penalty box. Carli Lloyd then proceeded to blast it home to increase the lead to 2-0. Angela Clavijo would get the yellow card for the penalty call in the 65th minute. Abby Wambach would come off for Morgan Brian in the 69th minute after a mediocre performance overall.
Catalina Usme comes on for Yoreli Rincon in the 72th minute. Megan Rapinoe would come off for Christen Press in the 75th minute. The United States began to manipulate the fitness raided legs of the Colombians, who due to being a woman down remained defending for most of the rest of the match. Ali Krieger happily strides off the field for Lori Chalupny, who was selected for the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup but not the 2011 tournament. Leicy Santos arrives for Daniela Montoya in the 85th minute.
Although the United States has only conceded one goal so far in the whole tournament (opening match against Australia), their offensive struggles need to be emphasized if they want to succeed against national teams like Germany, France, and Japan in the future.