New England Soccer Today

Onto the Final

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

The United States advanced to the World Cup Final in thrilling, heart-pounding fashion with a 2-0 win over Germany in Tuesday’s semifinal. The U.S. will play the winner of the Japan/England semifinal, which will be decided on Wednesday.

The first half was exciting to watch. In the 14th minute, Tobin Heath laid a perfectly-weighted pass down the middle to Alex Morgan. She took one touch, and then tried to put it far post, but Nadine Angerer made an excellent foot save to keep the game scoreless.

The U.S. continued to knock on the door throughout the first half, and Morgan had another opportunity in the 43rd minute when she cut from her left foot onto her right, and then back, to shoot on her left. She completely fooled the defender, but shot wide of the post on a narrow angle shot.

The second half was just as electric as the first. Germany came out and passed much better than they did in the first half. In the 59th minute Julie Johnston pulled down Alexandra Popp in the box. Popp was going to most likely chip the ball over Hope Solo. The U.S. was extremely fortunate that the center referee decided to give Johnston a yellow card instead of a red.

Celia Sasic, the tournament’s leading scorer, stepped up to take the penalty, and incredibly, put it wide left of the goal. This was a turning point for the U.S. Hope Solo went the wrong way, and Johnston was crying over her mistake. But instead of being down a goal, they were given another chance.

The U.S. took full advantage of the lifeline it was offered to them and fought back against the high pressure from Germany when Morgan took the ball down the field in the 67th minute. She was just outside the box when defender Annike Krahn stepped in front of her. Morgan tried to leap past Krahn and they both tumbled into the box. Krahn was given a yellow card, and Morgan was awarded a penalty kick. If you watch the replays, it appears that contact was made outside not inside the box. This was a fortunate break for the USA.

Carli Lloyd, who had scored in her previous two games, didn’t disappoint against Germany. She stepped up and put the ball in the back of the net. Heath made way for Kelley O’Hara in the 75th minute and it turned out to be a wise decision by U.S. coach Jill Ellis. Moments after the change, Lloyd was open in the box and drew two defenders and Angerer close before she crossed the ball to O’Hara, who streaked in and scored a volley.

Tuesday’s semifinal was the best the U.S. has played all tournament. They passed extremely well, and five of their 11 shots were on target. They ran and hustled, and truly put in the kind of performance that U.S. supporters and pundits alike had craved since the start of the tournament. If the U.S. can play in similar fashion come Sunday’s final, then they will be able to lift the very trophy that’s eluded them since 1999.

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