The United States Women’s National Team are one victory away from repeating as FIFA World Cup champions after defeating England 2-1 in the World Cup Semi-finals.
United States’ first goal came in the 10th minute when forward Christen Press (who plays her club ball for Utah Royals FC) got her head on a Kelley O’Hara cross and directed the ball upper-left past England goalkeeper Carly Telford. The goal was Press’ 49th international goal.
CHRISTEN PRESS!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2019
No Rapinoe, no problem! The USWNT takes the early lead again and has now scored in the first 15 minutes in every single game this #FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/Xqu3u0m56V
As for her goal celebration, Press said after the match that it was in tribute to her mother Stacy, who recently passed away.
Christen Press looked up at the sky after scoring the US's first goal. She said she recently lost her mother, Stacy. Tonight, she said, "I was thinking of my mom."— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) July 2, 2019
England would draw it level nine minutes later when forward Ellen White connected on a cross from Beth Mead to claim her sixth goal of the tournament. That strike put her in the lead for the Golden Boot at this year’s tournament, but only temporarily.
What a goal!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2019
Ellen White takes the lead in the Golden Boot race with her 6th goal of the #FIFAWWC. Great cross from Mead, clinical finish from White. 1-1! pic.twitter.com/U5GoaxbIRv
The second goal for the United States came in the 31st minute when forward Alex Morgan (star of NWSL’s Orlando Pride) went up in the air to head in a cross from Lindsey Horan (who plays at club level for Portland Thorns). The goal was Morgan’s sixth of the tournament, putting her ahead of White in the Golden Boot race (thanks to her three assists).
Alex Morgan scores her first goal since the opening game and retakes the lead in the Golden Boot race (6 goals, 3 assists)— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2019
She's the first player in #FIFAWWC history to score on her birthday pic.twitter.com/EGWBNIyaxI
Scoring a goal at the World Cup and being the talk of the soccer world due to your goal celebration is not a bad way to celebrate your birthday.
This team is special. Thanks for the bday love. Thanks for the rocking stadium. Thanks for continuing to believe with us. And that’s the tea.— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) July 2, 2019
In the 68th minute, England thought they had their second equalizer when White once again split the US defenders in the middle of the field, but it was negated by a very tight offside call after the goal was reviewed by VAR.
OFFSIDE!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2019
VAR rules out what would have been Ellen White's second goal and second equalizer of the game! #FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/a1aCGeas4R
England had another chance to get the second equalizer towards the end when VAR reviewed that US defender Becky Sauerbrunn (who also plays for Utah Royals FC) clipped the right leg of White and the Lionesses were awarded a penalty. Captain Steph Houghton took the penalty but it was stopped by US goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher (who tends net for Chicago Red Stars).
NAEHER SAVES!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/h4JqFFLylY— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2019
The United States were able to hold on to the 2-1 lead and secure their third-straight World Cup Final and a chance to repeat at champions.
As far as Reign FC representatives go, Jodie Taylor (England), Allie Long (USA), and Megan Rapinoe (USA) were all available as substitutes, but did not feature in Tuesday’s semi-final. All three could still get some minutes as England have a third place match on Saturday with the loser of the other semi-final match between the Netherlands and Sweden, and surely it’s all hands on deck for the United States with Sunday’s championship match.
In the case of Rapinoe, the headlines were buzzing before kickoff because of her omission from the starting lineup. Press started in place of Rapinoe, and while head coach Jill Ellis was coy about the omission before the match, after the match she disclosed that the forward had a slight hamstring strain. Her decision to keep it quiet before and during the match was based on “the outside chance she could take a penalty,” and she did not want to show her hand.
After the match Rapinoe said that the injury came late in the quarter-final match against host nation France, but said she’s expecting to be ready to go for Sunday’s final.
Megan Rapinoe said she got a minor hamstring strain late in the France game. Says she’s expecting to be ready for Sunday’s final.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) July 2, 2019
Speaking of Sunday’s final, the United States await the winner of Wednesday’s semi-final match between Netherlands and Sweden. Kickoff for that semi-final is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. PST. The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final is scheduled for Sunday, July 7 at 8:00 a.m. PST.