Match preview: USWNT to face Colombia in W Gold Cup quarterfinals

The USWNT will be facing against CONMEBOL’s Colombia in the W Gold Cup quarterfinals on Sunday.

After finishing the group stage in second place following their shocking 2-0 loss against México on Monday, the USWNT’s qualification to the knockout stage will have them face off against Colombia, one of the most promising young squads in the world.

The two will face off in the tournament’s first knockout round stage on March 3 at the BMO Stadium in Los Angeles at 8:15 p.m. ET, looking to qualify to the final four stage held at San Diego’s Snapdragon Stadium. The winner will play against either Canada or Costa Rica in the semifinal.

Colombia’s form ahead of USWNT tie

Colombia, who are coming off an outstanding 2022 Copa América Femenina where they finished as runner-up and a historic 2023 Women’s World Cup where they reached the quarterfinal stage, are coming into this tie against the United States as a team eager to increase their international stature. 

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This time around in the W Gold Cup, they are off to another promising start. 

The tricolor finished second in Group B with six points (2-1-0), only behind first-placed Brazil who finished with a perfect record. Real Madrid Femenino’s Linda Caicedo, a 19-year-old striker nominated for the Ballon d’Or and FIFA’s The Best, is Colombia’s top-goalscorer so far in the tournament, scoring two goals in both of their group stage wins.

Caicedo, who is quickly becoming accustom to both club and international matches of this stature at just 19 years old, says Colombia won't be changing their style of play ahead of their tie against the United States, or any other national team for that matter.

“No matter the rival we’re up against, we will go out to play our game and our idea is very clear. We must face the rival that’s up next and beat them,” said the forward ahead of their qualification to the knockout stage last Wednesday.

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The USWNT’s positive record against Colombia

The United States is historically dominant against Colombia.

The U.S and Colombia have faced off in a total of 12 matches, with the U.S. women’s national team remaining undefeated (10-0-2) against the South Americans. They have conceded only twice and scored a staggering 38 goals in that dozen match span.

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The pair played two back-to-back international friendlies in October of last year, with Colombia holding the USWNT to an impressive 0-0 draw in the first match. 

However, U.S. would go on to defeat the Cafetaleras in the following game. Mia Fishel (who was dropped from the W Gold Cup squad due to an injury), Lindsey Horan and Jaedyn Shaw scored all three goals in the USWNT’s 3-0 victory in San Diego.

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USWNT possible formation and lineup vs. Colombia in W Gold Cup semifinal

Following the team's lackluster performance against Mexico last Monday, we can expect a handful of changes in the starting XI.

So far in the tournament, the USWNT have played with three completely different formations — having a different starting squad for each of their group stage matches.

The squad directed by interim coach Twila Kilgore began the tournament with a 3-5-2 formation — a tactical shape that saw plenty of participation from the full-backs in the attack. For the following match against Argentina, the USWNT played with a 4-3-3 formation, a strategy that allowed the attack to flourish with goals from Alex Morgan, Lindsey Horan and Jaedyn Shaw who scored twice in a 4-0 win.

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Against Mexico, a match that was to decide their fate in the knockout stage, Kilgore proposed a 4-2-3-1 formation. This formation saw Rose Lavelle playing as a "10" in charge of creating and directing the chances for the U.S. attack — a strategy from Kilgore that failed to get the U.S. more than a single shot on target.

Now, considering the success starting XIs we've seen thus far from the U.S. in the tournament, it would make sense to see a combination of both lineups used against Argentina and Mexico. We expect to see Kilgore use a 4-3-3 formation with minor tweaks in the attack that could see Jaedyn Shaw or even Alex Morgan from the start.

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