BACK IN BUSINESS — USWNT qualify for W Gold Cup semifinals after vindicating win vs. Colombia

The U.S. women’s national team booked their ticket to the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup semifinals following a dominating vindication win against Colombia this Sunday.

After perhaps the worst performance from the USWNT in the last year on Monday in their group stage loss against Mexico, the four-time world champs didn’t miss the opportunity to bounce back from their poor send-off to the knockout stage. And it took them only 13 minutes to do so.

In the opening minutes of the match a fantastic ball into space for an eager Alex Morgan to get a shot on goal forced the Colombian defense to knock the legendary USWNT striker for an early penalty kick.

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The experience and composure from Morgan was the difference maker.

Lindsey Horan capitalized on the early set-piece opportunity and sent the ball home for the first goal of the game at BMO Stadium. She’s scored five penalties from a total five attempts.

Then 10 minutes later, a free-kick from Naomi Girma behind the half, sent into Alex Morgan, spilled onto the outskirts of the 18-yard-box, setting up Jenna Nighswonger for a perfect half-volley shot into the bottom corner. It was 2-0 in just 20 minutes.

Nighswonger hit the crowd with a Ronaldo-esque “Calma” celebration. Cold.

The U.S. had doubled their lead in just a quarter down of the match but Colombia, as expected, weren't going to go down easy.

In the 37th minute, a beautiful build-up play from the Cafetaleras inside the danger zone ended with a driven shot from Ilana Izquierdo. The effor sent USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher flying toward her near post to make an illustrious finger-tip save for the ages. Naeher, who was playing her 100th game for the United States, made the best save of the tournament so far.

This save would make the greater difference just minutes later when a quick recovery from the American attack inside Colombia’s half, sent to Trinity Rodman on the flank, ended with a clinical finish from Jaedyn Shaw to send the USWNT flying into the break. Shaw’s third goal of the tournament and the USA’s third goal of the game.

Here’s another angle of the goal:

The Stars and Stripes’ marvelous first half would turn out to be enough to qualify to the next round, with none of the teams getting on the scoreboard in the last 45 minutes.

The USWNT will now face off against Canada — a rematch of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics semifinal loss against the Maples — in the tournament’s semifinal held at the Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego. Mexico and Brazil will play each other for the other spot in the final.

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This is going to be fun.

You can watch the U.S. women’s national team fight for a spot in the W Gold Cup’s first-ever final this Wednesday, March 6 at 7:15 p.m EST on Paramount+.

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