USWNT Seeks to Salvage Bronze in Rematch with Aussies

By: Max O'Neill
Posted: August 4, 2021

The Bronze medal is on the line as the United States Women’s National Team takes on the Australians at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium in Kashima, Japan at 4 A.M. ET, 5 P.M. local time. This game is a rematch of the final group stage game which saw the two teams struggle to find flow offensively and ended in a nil-nil draw. 

The United States will be without one key player in this game as goalie Alyssa Naeher has been ruled out due to a bone contusion and a hyperextension of her right knee, which she suffered in the semifinal loss to Canada. 

In the last game that the two teams played, the Americans had the lion’s share of possession and even had an Alex Morgan goal disallowed, but the teams both parked the bus over the last twenty-five minutes or so to squeeze out a tie. The two teams have played 31 times overall with the US holding a 26-1-4 record in those contests. The series has gotten closer in recent years however as the Matilda’s have a 1-1-2 record in the last four games with all of those games being decided by two goals or fewer. 

Should the Americans lose this game, it would be the second consecutive Olympics that they failed to medal. This is the US’ first attempt at a bronze medal in Olympic history. They have however played in three third place games before this, all coming at the World Cup, in which they are undefeated. They beat China, Canada, and Norway for World Cup Bronze in 1995, 2003 and 2007 respectively. 

Key Player: 

Adrianna Franch: It’s her show now, she came in and played well in relief of Naeher, much better than many probably expected, and she made some big saves when the team needed it. Franch finished that game with one save on two shots, so she didn’t have to do much, but she failed to save the only shot that mattered, the penalty from Jessie Fleming. She is helped in this game by knowing it’s her spot in between the pipes and she has undoubtedly been preparing for this game with that knowledge. Both teams should come out in this game trying to score immediately and Franch has to step up if the Americans want to leave Tokyo with a bronze medal. 

Prediction: 

The Americans take down the Matildas on penalties after and evenly played full time, with the penalty score being 3-1. The winning penalty will be taken by Carli Lloyd in what might be her final game for the USWNT.

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