In a match that was very loosely officiated, the US ironically won the game due to two soft penalty calls in the box.
Rapinoe’s clutch penalties are the difference
The game couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for the US.
In the 6th minute, Tobin Heath was taken down in the box. The refs awarded a penalty (it was soft and could’ve gone either way). Megan Rapinoe stepped up and utterly buried for the lead.
Spain immediately responded two minutes later. The Spaniards single noted weakness coming into the tournament was their lack of quality finishing. However, after a sloppy turnover in the defensive third, Jenni Hermoso placed a laser-perfect top shelf shot in the 9th minute to level the game.
The physical intensity picked up as the game went on. Many penalties and yellow cards were ignored, mostly caused by Spain. But then in the 76th minute, a soft foul was called against the Spanish team as Rose Lavelle tumbled in the box. Up stepped Megan Rapinoe (after Alex Morgan lobbied to take it) again.
The US’ physical fitness then began to show, as their stamina and speed helped close the game out in the final 15 minutes.
Another standout performance by Rose Lavelle
We’ve been touting this as Rose Lavelle’s breakout tournament. It’s just worth noting that 1) we were right, and 2) she looked like the best player on the pitch today.
In Lavelle we trust pic.twitter.com/F2Ap41RB6W— Grace Haley (@gracephaley) June 24, 2019
Lavelle’s on-ball skill and perfectly weighted passes helped propel a US team that was a step off their normal quality today.
On to France…as slight favorites
The US will move on to the quarterfinals for a tough match-up against host nation France on Friday at 3pm ET.
Expect another skin-of-your-teeth game. FiveThirtyEight projects the US as only 54% to win.
Betting markets view this as a close match as well–although favor the US more than we’d have thought. Expect some pro-France money coming in to inch that US line closer to +175 by game time.
|France +230||Draw +220||USA +125|