2019 FIFA Women's World Cup: Megan Rapinoe brace from the spot leads USA over Spain

2019 FIFA Women's World Cup: Megan Rapinoe brace from the spot leads USA over Spain

It took a pair of soft penalties for the United States to beat Spain in Reims, France on Monday night.

aaron_bellamy
Aaron Bellamy

The United States women's national team defeated Spain 2-1 on Monday afternoon at Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims on Monday night. It was the fifth game of the Round of 16 at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. Both American goals were scored by forward Megan Rapinoe from the penalty spot, and the pink-haired striker took Player of the Match honors. The loss ends Spain's tournament after four games. 

The opening chance of the match fell to Spain just one minute into the match, but it was the United States that would score the first goal in the sixth minute. Tobin Heath beat a defender after receiving a long service from defender Abby Dahlkemper and dribbled the ball into the box where she was challenged by Spanish defender Maria Leon. The defender got Heath's foot instead of the ball, and the referee spent no time in pointing to the spot. Rapinoe stepped up to take the penalty, and she buried it expertly in the left corner while Spanish goalkeeper Sandra Panos went right.

Spain took no time in capitalizing on a fortuitous miscue of their own. USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher played a dead ball forward to Becky Sauerbrunn, who turned and ran away from the ball instead of playing it. Spain collected the ball, sent a quick pass to Jennifer Hermoso, and she was able to finish against the retreating Naeher. It was Hermoso's third goal of the tournament. 

The United States had another opportunity right in front of goal in the 17th minute when Heath once again toyed with the Spanish defense  in the box. She found the foot of Rapinoe with a low cross, but the shot was blocked.

Both sides had a few more promising chances, but the halftime whistle would finally blow after three minutes of added time with the score still standing at 1-1.

Alex Morgan (13) took a lot of knocks in this physical match as Spain consistently put a body on her. | Photo: AP Photo - Alessandra Tarantino
Alex Morgan (13) took a lot of knocks in this physical match as Spain consistently put a body on her. | Photo: AP Photo - Alessandra Tarantino

Neither team had much offensive prowess after the break. The two teams mostly split possession and chances, with no shots on goal for the first 20 minutes of the half.

In the 73rd minute, Rose Lavelle was dribbling the ball through the top of the 18-yard box, when she was apparently clipped by a Spanish defender. The ref once again pointed to the spot and eventually consulted VAR to check the call. The ruling stood, and Rapinoe stepped back to the spot. Rapinoe and the keeper both went left, but the ball slipped under the chest of Panos for the second USA goal. 

Spain nearly had an opportunity to equalize in stoppage time, but the bouncing ball couldn't be settled and it was eventually cleared by Samantha Mewis. The final score of 2-1 left something to be desired since the United States was never able to score in open play, but they will nonetheless be the team facing France in the upcoming quarterfinal match in Paris on the 28th. 

United States Starting XI: Alyssa Naeher; Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O'Hara, Abby Dahlkemper, Crystal Dunn; Samantha Mewis, Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle; Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath

Spain Starting XI: Sandra Panos; Leila Ouahabi, Irene Paredes, Marta Corredera, Maria Leon; Vicky Losada, Lexia Putellas, Patri Guijarro, Virginia Torrecilla; Jennifer Hermoso, Lucia Garcia

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