USWNT advances to knockout round in uncanny victory
In the wee hours of the morning, the USWNT had an intense pressure filled game against Portugal in which they needed to win and could not suffer a loss. If they lost their match against Portugal, it would mean Team USA's. chances of making it to the knockout round would potentially be on ice. They would literally have to wait on pins and needles to see if Vietnam would defeat the Dutch by a huge margin to keep their edge in goal differential or they could sneak in as a second-place team, which would be a harder quest for Team USA if that happened.
With their backs against the wall in a game that had a win, tie or go home stake, let's see how Team USA did. As expected, Team USA were the aggressive team in the first 15 minutes of the game. Alex Morgan had two consecutive looks early on but could not get the ball in the net. After the 15th mark in the first half, Team USA was playing defense the rest of the half, because Portugal made it very difficult for Team USA to get rhythm for potential set up goals. Both teams walked into their locker rooms with a big goose egg.
All of the pressure was on Team USA during the second half. If they could not get a victory or draw against Portugal, they would be packing up their bags, because the Dutch took care of business against Vietnam in a one-sided game. Heading into the 60th minute, Team USA had three attempts that could have been goals, but once again, the US could not take advantage of Portugal being on their heals. Since Team USA could not find that energetic spark, changes were made as Megan Rapinoe finally entered the game.
Rapinoe impacted the game instantly. She decided to push the pace of the game, which was the spark Team USA needed. Even though their mentality of attack was there, careless turnovers kept Portugal in the game. Portugal had a chance to send U.S. packing with an open goal in extra minutes, but it hit the post, which sent U.S. fans in a frenzy. Team USA went on to advance to the knockout round after tying with Portugal in a scoreless game.