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U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

July 28, 2012
QUARTERFINAL BOUND
Rapinoe leads US Women over Colombia

By Michael Lewis
BigAppleSoccer.com Editor

Megan Rapinoe came through with a goal and an assist as the US Women advanced to the Olympic quarterfinals with a 3-0 win over Colombia on Saturday.
Megan Rapinoe came through with a goal and an assist as the US Women advanced to the Olympic quarterfinals with a 3-0 win over Colombia on Saturday.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
GLASGOW -- Less than 24 hours after the Summer Olympics opening ceremonies, the United States clinched a spot in the quarterfinals with a 3-0 Group G victory over Colombia at Hampden Park on Saturday.

Midfielder Megan Rapinoe scored one goal and set up another as Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd found the back of the net as for the Americans (2-0-0, six points), who play North Korea in their third and final group game in Manchester on Tuesday. North Korea (1-0-0, three) met France (0-1-0, none) in the second game of the doubleheader on Saturday. Colombia was eliminated from any chance of reaching the knockout competition.

U.S. coach Pia Sundhage made three changes from the starting lineup of Wednesday's 4-2 win over France. She replaced left back Amy Le Peilbet with Heather Mitts, right midfielder Tobin Heath with Heather O'Reilly and injured center midfielder Shannon Boxx with Lloyd.

After a frustrating first half-hour, in which the U.S. seemed out of kilter, the Americans finally struck in the 33rd minute.

Rapinoe, who orchestrated three of the goals in Wednesday's affair, turned goal-scorer. Alex Morgan shuffled off a pass from the right side and Rapinoe fired a right-footed 20-yard shot past goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda for a 1-0 lead.

Rapinoe celebrated by taking out a small sign sign that said, "Happy Birthday Ali Krieger," the injured U.S. defender who celebrated her 28th birthday on Saturday. Krieger, a starter at the time, suffered a serious knee injury during CONCACAF Olympic qualifying in Vancouver in January.

The Americans needed that goal because, had they not scored, things could have gotten tense for the team as the game wore on.

Six minutes later, the South Americans dodged a bullet and at least a yellow card when forward Laly Andrade elbowed Wambach in the face. Wambach went down to the ground in pain. Apparently no game official saw the incident as no card was given for the infraction by referee Thalia Mitsi (Greece).

Wambach got the ultimate revenge in the 74th minute, when she took a pass from Heath and scored from 10 yards.

Only three minutes later, Lloyd tallied her second goal of the tournament, converting a Rapinoe feed for a three-goal advantage.

   
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