United States wins Group G despite 2-2 draw with Colombia in Rio Olympics

colombia draw 2016 olympics

By TOM SLATER

The United States won Group G in the 2016 Summer Olympics and will advance to the quarterfinals.

But it wasn’t the way they wanted to do it.

Colombia used a pair of free kicks from Catlalina Usme early and late in the match to draw the United States, 2-2. And while the Americans went off the field awaiting to see if they played China, Sweden or Australia the next round, it was the Colombian players who danced off the field.

Colombia, winless, goalless and looking like a team in disarray, hung in tough against the Americans, who continued to have trouble with set pieces. Usme had the game of her life, scoring both — one with a blunder from the usually steady goalkeeper Hope Solo.

Usme’s game-tying shot came seconds into stoppage time when she hit a high ball from about 10 yard from the touchline. Her shot came across the goal to the far post. Solo took a step out and then got one hand on the shot but couldn’t prevent the goal.

The Americans played out the stoppage time to win their Olympic group for the fifth straight time.

In the 10th minute, Usme got Colombia off to a quick start. She had a free kick from just outside the box and hit a shot was right at Solo who seemed to corral the ball but let it slip through her legs.

The United States got two goals to take the lead. Crystal Dunn got her first goal of the tournament in the 41st minute to send the Americans level at the half. Carli Lloyd broke free down the right side and hit a cross that went off the cross bar and bounced down to Dunn, who put it in the net.

In the 60th minute, Mallory Pugh, who came on for Megan Rapinoe in the 33rd minute, scored her first Olympic goal. She was set up by Dunn, who flew down the left wing and sent a cross through box.  Christen Press deflected the ball but Pugh caught up with it, cut inside and left fly with a left footer that beat Sandra Sepulveda. She became the youngest American to score a goal in the Olympics.

Jill Ellis made wholesale lineup changes for the match, figuring the rest some starter. Rapinoe, Ali Kreiger and Christen Press all made their first start of the Summer Games. The jury is out on how effective Rapinoe was.

France finished second with a 3-0 win over New Zealand.