USWNT Does Enough to Best Netherlands on Penalties and Advance

By: Max O'Neill
Posted: July 30, 2021

The United States Women’s National Team took down the Netherlands in a penalty shootout 4-2 after playing through full time with the game knotted at 2-2. The US side began the match with much better intensity, especially in the opening 25 minutes of the game but were unable to capitalize on the early momentum.

In what has become a common theme for the United States in this tournament, they had four goals disallowed in this game, bringing the tournament total up to 9. The Dutch also had a goal disallowed in the 94th minute on a ball that bounced off the crossbar then off goalie Alyssa Naeher and in. The Americans had two certain winners disallowed in extra time, one by forward Christen Press and the other by forward Alex Morgan. 

Forward Vivianne Miedema opened the scoring with a flick up to get space and then a shot past the outstretched arm of Naeher to put the Dutch up 1-0 in the 18th minute. New addition to the American lineup, forward Lynn Williams made a tremendous impact in this game with a cross into the box in the 28th minute that found the head of midfielder Sam Mewis to knot the game up at 1. Williams again found her way onto the scoresheet when she froze the goalie with a move in the box and put it past a defender into the far corner to give the US the 2-1 lead in the 31st minute. That would be the way it would stand until the US again gave Miedema enough space to turn and fire one past Naeher in the 54th minute. That goal was Miedema’s 10th of the tournament. The match would stay tied at two the rest of the way with both teams missing chances and pressing hard to try to find a late winner as the game moved on. The best chance for either side came in the 80th minute when US defender Kelley O’Hara took down Dutch midfielder Lineth Beerensteyn in the box, drawing an immediate point to the spot from the referee. Forward Lieke Martens stepped up to take it and went left, but Naeher got the better of the attempt and kept the game level. 

The Dutch won the coin toss and elected to step up to the spot first in the shootout, sending Miedema to the spot. The sharpshooter went to the left and Naeher stuffed her, giving Rose Lavelle a chance to take the early 1-0 lead for the Americans. Lavelle calmly walked to the spot and slotted the ball past Dutch keeper Sari Van Veendaal to give the Americans a 1-0 lead. That wouldn’t last long though as the Dutch got on the board with Naeher going left and the ball going right thanks to defender Dominique Janssen. US head coach Vladtko Andovski sent Alex Morgan up to try to put the US back in front and she paid him back in spades with a goal to give the Americans a 2-1 lead in the shootout. Defender Stefanie Van Der Gragt stepped up next and put one off the inside of the post and in to tie it up again at 2. Another key player for the Americans, Christen Press, took on the keeper in the shootout next and slotted home the ball to give the USWNT a 3-2 lead. With the chance to tie it up the Dutch sent defender Aniek Nouwen to the spot, but Naeher again stifled the Ducth hopes. The last kick of the shootout was forward Megan Rapinoe who stepped up with ice in her veins and slotted one into the top right corner to send the United States on to the semi finals against longtime rival Canada. 

Jeff Kassouf of Equalizer Soccer reports that Lynn Williams spoke in the postgame press conference. 

“The beauty of this team is that when things aren’t going right, we still get results, and that’s what you saw tonight,” Willliams said. “I’m very proud of us and we are going to keep going.” 

The win by the United States now sets up a date with the Canadians on August 2 in Kashima, Japan at the Kashima Soccer Stadium.

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