The USA played hosts to the Netherlands in the Georgia Dome on Sunday night and came away as three-one winners. After a rocky start, the US managed to find a good rhythm in the second half that helped them dominate proceedings and ultimately win the match.
A steady first half from the Netherlands keeps the score level
The Netherlands were going to be a tougher ask for the USA after their match up against Thailand on Thursday and that proved to be the case right from the start. In the second minute, a long ball from the back found Vivienne Miedema, who out jumped Julie Johnston. and nodded the ball forward. Shanice van de Sanden raced into the space left behind by Meghan Klingenberg and beat Becky Sauerbrunn for pace before finishing coolly past Alyssa Naeher in goal. It was a bright start from the away side and clearly showed their intent.
The high press that the Dutch were using would continue to pose problems for the US back line but the next chance of the match actually fell to Carli Lloyd. A quick break by Tobin Heath, in the seventh minute, found Lloyd out wide and alone. The midfielder proceeded to run into the box before firing a shot off that was saved well by Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal who then also collected the rebound.
From then on, the Dutch defended stoutly while breaking quickly and combining well to try and release van de Sanden and Lieke Martens who were clearly quicker than the US defenders. These attacks led to some long range efforts from Daniëlle van de Donk but Naeher was equal to those shots and got behind them well. The US and in particular Lloyd, could not be held back forever and when Whitney Engen found Heath out wide in the 35th minute, you could sense a goal was coming. Heath moved down to the byline and then found an unmarked Lloyd in the box. Lloyd did not hesitate and powered home the equaliser for the US.
The US come back in the second half
After the half time break, it seemed as though the US had adjusted to what the Netherlands had tried to do tactically in the first half and began to find ways to create their won chances and limit the spaces that the Dutch had thrived on in the first half. The US also started to employ a high press to try and catch of the Dutch back line in transition and it proved to be the right choice of tactical change.
In the 50th minute, Lloyd won the ball back in midfield and quickly spread it out wide to Christen Press who had come in as a substitute at half time. Press then pushed into the box, using her pace to separate from her marker before squaring the ball across the goal. Mandy van den Berg took a tumble and proceeded to deflect the pass into her own net to give the US a two-one lead. The Dutch were incensed by the call as, on watching a replay, it seemed as though Heath fouled van den Berg which made the defender put the ball into her own net but the referee was not interested in their appeals. Foru minutes later and Lloyd almost doubled her tally for the night when she hit the post after being found in the box by her teammates.
The last chance of the game fell to Allie Long in the 77th minute which she proceeded to finish. A long throw in by Sauerbrunn eventually found substitute Megan Rapinoe. Rapinoe then sent in a cross which found Lloyd on the back post and she nodded it down to Long who stooped low and converted the US' third goal of the night.
It was a good win for the US as they had to adjust quickly to an up and coming Netherlands side. The US also capitalised on the tiring Dutch side later in the second half but the Netherlands should not be disappointed with this showing as they had the US on the ropes for a large portion of the first half.