USWNT Exact Revenge on Japan to win the World Cup

Photo: US Soccer

by MC BOUSQUETTE
Staff Writer

The USWNT waited four long years for today.

After the heartbreaking loss to Japan in the 2011 World Cup finals, the US finally settled the score, beating Japan 5-2 to win the 2015 World Cup.

Three goals from Carli Lloyd, one from Lauren Holiday, and another from Tobin Heath overwhelmed Japan, who finished with only two goals, one from Yuki Ogimi and the second from a Julie Johnston own goal.

USWNT Starting Lineup (Photo: US Soccer)

USWNT Starting Lineup (Photo: US Soccer)

 

 

The United States charged out of the gates, notching their first goal only three minutes into the match as Megan Rapinoe  connected with Lloyd.

The US’ pressure continued, and two minutes later, Heath was fouled to win a USWNT free kick. Johnston was on the receiving end of the kick, finding Lloyd, who finished the opportunity to bring the US to a 2-0 advantage.

Japan attempted to respond, but Hope Solo snatched a cross midair to stop the attempt.  The United States cleared the ball, and returned to Japan’s final third. After the Japanese defense deflected the ball, Lauren Holiday seized the opportunity and found the back of the net on a volley.

After another attempt from Japan to penetrate the final third ended in a turnover to the US, Carli Lloyd, noticing Japanese keeper and Golden Glove nominee Miho Fujumoto far off her line, shot from midfield. She nailed the attempt, completing her hat trick only 15 minutes into the match.

But Japan wasn’t done yet. In the 28th minute, Ogimi beat an out of position Johnston to put Japan on the scoreboard. The United States fell just one minute short of setting an all-time record for the longest World Cup stretch without allowing a goal.

The remainder of the half showed a Japan not ready to concede, but dynamic saves from Solo and a tranquilized back line prevented any further damage to the US’ lead. The half ended with the USA leading Japan 4-1.

The second half began much as the first, with immediate pressure from the USWNT. Morgan Brian took a well-placed shot just five minutes into the half, resulting in a deflection from Japan and a corner for the US. Japan prevented the opportunity, instead challenging the US in the American final third. An unusually nervous Johnston mishandled the clearance, and was responsible for an own goal.

Minutes later, Tobin Heath restored the three goal security off an assist from Brian, bringing the USWNT to 5-2 over Japan.

Coach Jill Ellis gave Rapinoe relief at 60′, as Kelley O’Hara relieved her at midfield.

Japan didn’t give in, as Aya Miyama came in hot multiple times, most dangerous with a dyanmically saved shot in the 76th minute. The USWNT defended a series of pressing attempts from Japan, but managed to find relief long enough to penetrate Japan’s final third.

With the game coming to a close,Abby Wambach entered the fray for Heath in the 80th minute.

Miyama, ever the playmaker, challenged the US final third over and over, but the US backs and Solo didn’t give in again. Christie Rampone, the last remaining member of the legendary 1999 USWNT World Cup squad, entered the game with a handful of minutes left in the match, concluding her USWNT career with one final World Cup appearance.

With just two minutes left, the USWNT went for another goal, but Meghan Klingenberg‘s attempt at penetration was stopped inside the Japanese box. A corner taken by Lauren Holiday ended in miscommunication, and the US quashed the final threatening Japanese offensive as Solo scooped up the serve.

After a hard-fought battle from both sides, the United States earned their third World Cup title, cementing themselves as the standard bearer in Women’s soccer.