After advancing out of the group stage at the top of Group D, the United States faces a feisty Colombia side in their round of 16 Women's World Cup match. The game kicks off at 5:00 p.m. PT and airs on Fox Sports 1. We are also hosting a viewing party in partnership with the Sounders and Seattle Reign at THE NINETY. The winner of this match will face China on Friday.
The U.S. hasn't gone up against Colombia since the 2012 Olympics, a match the U.S. won 3-0. The U.S. also beat Colombia 3-0 in the group stage of the 2011 World Cup.
While many expect the U.S. to defeat Colombia a third time, the South American side is not a team to write off. Colombia came into the tournament ranked 28th in the world and have certainly proven themselves — finishing third in a group that featured France, England, and Mexico.
Jeff Carlisle reports that 20-year-old Catalina Pérez, who hasn't played yet in the tournament, is expected to start in goal for Colombia after Sandra Sepúlveda — who was quite strong against France and England — picked up two yellow cards in the group stage. The U.S. may test the young Pérez early in the match, perhaps trying to sneak a few long shots past her.
What to Watch
- The case of the missing midfield: While the U.S. defense has been strong, giving up just one goal in three games, the team has struggled to build possession through their midfield, as attacking players like Lauren Holiday have been pushed further back to take on a heavier defensive load. Megan Rapinoe has been the primary playmaker, but they will need a stronger performance across the midfield if they want to advance to the finals.
- Finding the open spaces: Colombia plays energetic, fast-paced soccer. While this could be a challenge for the USWNT, who at times have struggled to deal with speedy attacks, this also leaves open spaces for the U.S. to exploit. This could be a perfect match for Alex Morgan if she is fully healthy, and Rapinoe and Holiday are two players skilled at finding those gaps.
- Lady Andrade: Colombia's attack and creative play flows through Lady Andrade. While she might be more well-known to U.S. fans for punching Abby Wambach and for stirring the pot leading up to today's match, her technical ability has been on full display in this World Cup. She scored against both France and England, and has so far proven she has the skills and footwork to back up her bold talk.
- Yoreli Rincon: In addition to creating the attack from the midfield, the U.S. are going to need to keep an eye on Colombian midfielder Yoreli Rincon. While people started calling her "the next Marta" in her teens, the 21-year-old midfielder was fairly quiet this tournament until their final match against England. If Holiday and Carli Lloyd get caught too far up in the attack, Rincon could be the one to take advantage and lead Colombia's counter attack.
How to Watch
This is your USWNT gamethread. If you can't join us in person at THE NINETY, watch and discuss all the action right here.