The U.S. women’s national soccer team is headed to the finals of the 2015 FIFA World Cup in Vancouver on Sunday. The women held their own Tuesday night against the German powerhouse in the semifinals in Montreal. As their coach Jill Ellis said in an interview after the game, “They played their hearts out.”
They left everything on the field.
— Erin Banco (@ErinBanco) July 1, 2015
The women played one of their best games of the tournament. They were faster and cleaner, and connected their defensive and offensive lines. And they never ran out of speed. Each player hustled until the very end of the game, whereas Germany seemed to fall off in the last 10 minutes.
Most importantly, though, the U.S. players were able to find one another on the field with relative ease, which allowed them to get in between Germany's defense and feed the ball to the top of the box.
The game was one of the most brutal of the entire tournament for the U.S. team. There were lots of incredible plays, including Tobin Heath's hurdle over her German opponent.
The Germans are stronger and faster than any of the other teams the U.S. have encountered so far. But they also play dirty.
— The SL Spotlight (@TheSLSpotlight) July 1, 2015
Unlike past games, for example the U.S. game against Colombia, the referees seemed to be more laid back. They didn’t call this:
And they were pretty chill about this:
But we didn't care. Because they called this:
Which allowed Carly Lloyd to score the first goal of the game.
It was a tough game forward Alex Morgan, who missed one clear breakaway and several other shots on goal. Besides Lloyd who scored the first U.S. goal and assisted in the second to Kelley O'Hara in the last few minutes of the game (all hail Carly), there was another clear standout.
Julie Johnston, the 23-year-old who played at Santa Clara University, saved the U.S. from several German breakaways and provided strength to the U.S. back line. She did make one mistake, though, by tugging on her opponent's shoulder in the box. The referee called a yellow card and Germany got to take a penalty kick. But like most of their shots tonight, the penalty kick went wide, surprising everyone.
The woman who took the shot, Célia Šašić, which the television announcers liked to pronounce as "sausage," is one of the best forwards in the world and is known for her ability to score penalty kicks.
Morgan Brian, the 22-year-old rookie who came back into the game after a messy head collision in the first half, also played a strong game.
The U.S. will take on the winner of the England-Japan semifinal game, which takes place Thursday, July 2.