KENYA BROWN - Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Christen Press and Alex Morgan scored and Alyssa Naeher made a huge save from a penalty to help the US Women's National Team beat England to advance to the Women's World Cup final.
The Americans have shown their resilience throughout the month-long tournament, and after coming off two consecutive 2-1 victories over Spain and France in the knockout stages, confidence was high for them as they entered Parc Olympique Lyonnais on Tuesday with a shot at reaching a record-extending fifth final.
However, they would have to overcome the fellow 2015 semifinalist, as their head coach Phil Neville was determined to get them to the final for the first time in their history.
The US entered the game without Megan Rapinoe as the midfielder was sidelined with a hamstring strain. Head coach Jill Ellis decided to rest the midfielder as a precaution as they will need her for the final. Press would be called on as she was inserted into the starting 11, as well as Lindsay Horan who replaced Sam Mewis.
And the United States did not miss a beat as they have throughout the tournament when Press found the back of the net 10 minutes into the contest. Kelley O'Hara made a blistering run to meet up with the ball on the right side of the field before sending her cross into the area for Press to head over the outstretched hand of England goalkeeper Carly Telford.
Despite the early advantage, England proved to be a plucky team, and show the US they were not going down without a fight.
The Lionesses would go on to level the score nine minutes later when Beth Mede's cross from the left found Ellen White in the area, with the forward's volleyed effort beating Naeher as it hit the post before going in the goal.
It was a back-and-forth tussle between the two teams, but the US would find the eventual game-winner just after the half-hour mark when Morgan ran onto a lovely lofted pass from Horan to head it past Telford before going to celebrate with a cup of imaginary tea.
Despite holding the lead, this game was far from over, and England gave the defending champions a couple of scares in the second half that could have seen them relinquish their title.
England thought they had leveled the score in the 68th minute when Keira Walsh set up White to score her second goal of the night. But the video assistant referee would make its presence known and the goal was later rescinded due to offside.
The Americans were battling to keep their opponents at bay and had VAR go against in the 80th minute when the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty. According to the replay, it appeared that Becky Sauerbrunn had clipped White in the area.
Steph Houghton then had her chance at glory to level the score, but Naeher would guess correctly as she dived to her right to catch Houghton's shot to the delight of her teammates and US fans in the stands.
And with the final whistle, the US confirmed their spot in the final and a chance to defend their crown.
They will find out who they will face on July 7 when the Netherlands and Sweden play the other semifinal on Wednesday.