Rio 2016: Colombia stun the US with a 2-2 draw

In what was seen is a straight-forward win, Colombia managed to catch the United States of America at their worst and came away with a 2-2 draw to draw Group G of the Women's Soccer tournament to a close.

An uncharacteristically poor performance by Hope SoloChristen Press and Lindsey Horan, to name a few in the red, blue and black for the USWNT, allowed Colombia to gain confidence as the match wore on, and as the USWNT missed chance after chance, Colombia and in particular Usme, sensed their chance to provide a shock result in the tournament.

The USWNT start the match well

For the first twenty or so minutes of the match, the USWNT were firmly in control as they created many opportunities for themselves. The US fans also got the chance to see Megan Rapinoe kick her first ball in a professional match after 249 days and though she was clearly still rusty, Rapinoe looked to influence the match as much as she could. Coach Jill Ellis had stated that she looked to give Rapinoe 30 minutes of game time and the winger looked to make the most of her time of the field. In the ninth minute, Rapinoe stepped over a free-kick but could only watch as her effort went just over the crossbar. Rapinoe was involved again later as she set up Christen Press with a short corner but Press could not get her body over the ball enough and she sent her one-time shot into the stands.

Rapinoe gets her first minutes at the Olympics | Source: Michael Dantas/AP
Rapinoe gets her first minutes at the Olympics | Source: Michael Dantas/AP

Colombia strike first through Usme

Unfortunately for the US, their lack of ruthlessness in front of goal and a propensity for committing needless fouls, would end up coming back to haunt them. In the 26th minute, Rapinoe's lack of match fitness showed as she went two-footed into a challenge which resulted in a Colombia free-kick just outside the box. Rapinoe was lucky to escape without a booking but she had created a dangerous opportunity for Colombia which they proceeded to take advantage of. Catalina Usme sent her free-kick over the wall and towards a waiting Solo who seemed to have no problems positioning herself well to catch the ball. Unfortunately for her, the ball then squirmed out of her hands, through her legs and straight into goal to give Colombia the lead.

Colombia took heart from that goal and for the next ten or so minutes in the match, tried to push the US back into their own half and capitalize on a seemingly nervous US team.

Dunn leads the fight back

The US were not completely overawed by the occasion and a lapse from their previously unflappable goalkeeper and they began to go grow back into the game. In the 38th minute, Kelley O'Hara sent in a great delivery to a waiting Dunn at the far post but the Washington Spirit forward could not control her header and she nodded it too hard into the ground and over the crossbar. One minute later, a long ball found Press breaking into space and one-on-one with Sandra Sepúlveda but the Colombian goalkeeper, who had been in good form so far in the match, stood tall and blocked Press' effort.

The USWNT was clearly in the ascendancy again and their pressure finally told. After some good build up play in the 41st minute, Carli Lloyd broke free into the box. Her shot was saved by Sepúlveda but the rebound was pounced on by an unmarked Dunn in the box and she stabbed it home to level the score line for the US. This was Dunn's first Olympic goal and it could not have come at a better time for the US. Press had the last chance of the half as the US broke forward again but her shot was blocked and knocked out for a corner.

Dunn celebrates her first Olympic goal | Source: Michael Dantas/AP
Dunn celebrates her first Olympic goal | Source: Michael Dantas/AP

The second half starts the same way as the first half

The US came out trying to win the match as quickly as they could and they pushed the Colombians back constantly while still maintaining possession. The first chance of the half fell to Lindsey Horan in the 51st minute after some good work going forward by Morgan Brian. Horan hit her effort first time but again Sepúlveda was equal to the test. The US had another opportunity when in the 54th minute, Press found Alex Morgan who had come on for Lloyd, with a nice long ball. Morgan controlled the ball well but the bounce on the turf caused her to lift her shot just over the crossbar.

The pressure finally told for the US in the 59th minute when another substitute, Mallory Pugh, got her first ever Olympic goal as well. Dunn, who had switched to the left, got to the byline before cutting the ball back. It missed all the US attackers and found Pugh at the back post. Pugh then proceeded to bypass a few defenders before powering her effort home to put the US 2-1 up on the night.

Colombia refuse to give up

Many would have thought that after Pugh's goal, the barrage would come from the US but Colombia were determined to end their tournament on a high. In the 77th minute, after another needless foul committed by the US, Usme stepped up to take another free-kick with her dangerous left foot. Usme managed to get her free-kick up and over the wall and was unlucky to see it dip too late as it hit the crossbar and bounced out of bounds. That certainly encouraged the Colombians and you could see that they felt they could produce something special here.

Colombia's courage finally got its reward deep into stoppage time at the end of the match. O'Hara fouled Angela Clavijo near the corner flag. Usme stepped up to take the free-kick again and you could sense the anticipation in the air as the crowd felt that she could produce another magical moment which she duly obliged. Her delivery, from an impossible angle went straight past everyone and Solos's attempted punch and nestled in the far corner of the goal, sending the Colombians and the watching Brazilians into delirium. It was a shock result and one that many were not expecting.

Colombia have now been eliminated from the Women's Soccer tournament at Rio 2016 but they will take heart from this performance and from the fact that there will be a dedicated league in Colombia for current and future players to imrpove upon a good platform that they currently have. As for the USWNT, at this level, they have learned that if you do not take your chances, you can get punished, and they will use this performance as a stepping-stone for their next game.

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