The United States Women's Soccer Team continued their perfect record at the Olympics with a comfortable 1-0- victory against North Korea
Abby Wambach scored what proved to be the decisive goal in the 25th minute, but despite their dominance the U.S. were unable to add to their tally. The match was effectively ended as a contest, however, when North Korea were reduced to 10 women following the dismissal of Choe Mi Gyong.
As they look to defend her Olympic crown, the U.S. had already qualified for the quarterfinals on the back of two impressive victories against France and Colombia. But with a positive result ensuring an, in theory, easier path to gold, Pia Sundhage's side showed no signs of taking their foot off the gas against North Korea.
While North Korea needed a point themselves to continue in the competition, there was a distinct lack of ambition on show from the underdogs.
Alex Morgan's clever movement was a constant threat up front for the U.S. and it was the Manchester United fan who had the first opportunity to break the deadlock at Old Trafford.
Wambach provided a neat lay off on the edge of the area and Morgan took the ball across the face of goal before striking a dangerous left-footed effort that North Korean keeper Jo Yun-Mi did well to turn around the post.
The excellent Morgan was again at the heart of proceedings 10 minutes later as he dragged a low shot on her left foot across goal but back off the far post after another assist from Wambach.
It would not be long before the U.S. got the goal their play warranted. The striking duo combined once more, with Morgan this time playing supplier. After a clever chipped ball forward, Morgan did excellently to control the ball and show calmness in the area before slipping it inside to Wambach who slotted home first time past Jo.
Despite needing a draw to make the last eight, North Korea continued to show little inclination to push forward and threaten Hope Solo's goal.
Indeed it was the U.S. that had the opposition goal quaking once more before the break.
Carli Lloyd stuck an instinctive shot that deflected across goal toward Wambach, who stretched but could only divert the ball onto the post and from the rebound, Heather O'Reilly put the ball into the side netting at the near post as Jo did well to close her down.
The chances continued to arrive for the U.S. after the break, but still they couldn't put the result beyond reasonable doubt. O'Reilly did well to win the ball back in the opposition half and the U.S. eventually worked the ball across the box to Tobin Heath who tried to produce an intricate chip over a forlorn Jo, but could only put it over the cross bar.
For all their dominance, 1-0 remained a dangerous scoreline. As the hour-mark passed North Korea finally began to pose some problems for a U.S. defense that had yet to concede at the Olympics.
While they lacked the same composure displayed in the opening half, the result was never seriously in doubt following Choe's dismissal for a reckless challenge that earned her a second yellow card.