The USWNT Wins the Group of Death with 1-0 Victory over Nigeria

https://twitter.com/si_soccer/status/610977160329830400

By MC Bousquette
USWNT Writer

After an intense, aggressive match, a single Abby Wambach goal was all it took to secure victory as the United States defeated Nigeria, clinching a first place finish in Group D of the Women’s World Cup

A connection between Megan Rapinoe and Abby Wambach brought in the first US goal in the 45th minute, giving the U.S. the eventual 1-0 victory in front of 52,193 fans in Vancouver, Canada.

USWNT v. Nigeria Lineup

From the start, the US proved to be the dominant offensive side, with drive after drive into the Nigerian final third. Lauren Holiday handled a free kick in the 7th minute, but the effort was cleared by Nigeria. The US returned with a serve to Wambach, who tipped the ball to Julie Johnston. Johnston found the back of the net but the official deemed Johnston offsides in a contentious call.

Rapinoe lasered a shot in from the top outside of the box in the 17th minute, but Nigerian goalkeeper, Precious Dede, tipped the ball away from goal and out of bounds.

Nigeria answered the U.S. aggression with forward Asisat Oshoala racing downfield in a one on one with Johnston in the 24th. Oshoala managed the shot, while simultaneously colliding with Solo and Johnston as the ball missed right of goal.

But it was the U.S. that had the better chances in the half. Tobin Heath took the ball downfield in the 32nd, crossing to Wambach, but the effort was intercepted. The US then repossessed the ball, as Rapinoe took a dangerous shot from the top of the box, which was barely saved by Dede. Rapinoe was fouled in the 35th, and Holiday took the free kick. Carli Lloyd, positioned at the left post, mishandled the opportunity, and the ball dribbled out of bounds.

The US’ aggressive efforts finally paid off with the Rapinoe-Wambach connection. Rapinoe found Wambach who whipped her left foot on the ball mid-air and sunk the shot, giving the US a 1-0 lead at the half.

The second half began with more of the same, as the US battered the Nigerian defense, narrowly missing a series of opportunities in the first few minutes alone to cushion the lead. Alex Morgan engaged in a one-on-one early with Nigerian defender Josephine Chukwunonye, shooting on-target, but Dede narrowly pulled off the save.

Nigeria answered in the 56th as Lloyd was called on a foul outside the box, resulting in a Nigerian free kick;  a line drive that narrowly cleared the crossbar by inches.

In the 63rd, Krieger charged downfield again, sending a beautifully placed cross in to Morgan, who couldn’t quite beat Dede. Sydney Leroux entered the game up top in the 65th, giving Morgan relief in Morgan’s longest outing since returning from injury.

Nigerian defender Sarah Nnodim was sent off in the 70th after bowling Leroux over. Holiday took the free kick from just outside the box, but hooked the ball directly to Dede’s hands.

Moments after she entered the match, Rampone served the ball downfield to Leroux, but Leroux collided with a Nigerian defender to end the opportunity. Leroux followed up again, back to Boxx, who missed her opportunity wide and left of goal.

The remainder of the half was spent in a series of unfruitful back and forth efforts between Nigeria and the US, but the match ended 1-0.

With this win, the United States clinches victory over Group D, giving the US an advantageous seed entering the knockout rounds.

  • First time I’ve watched a whole game in awhile. Not very good. Back four shaky and they have no real playmaker. Nice team,play hard but they don’t have the juice like days of old. I’d be surprised if they went all the way this time around.