United States women down Holland 2-0 for its fourth World Cup title

The United States women's continued its dominance of the sport with a 2-0 win over the Netherlands to claim its fourth World Cup trophy. ASN's John Halloran was in Lyon for the title. 
BY John Halloran Posted
July 07, 2019
2:00 PM
LYON, FRANCE -  The United States women’s national team won its fourth World Cup title on Sunday night with a 2-0 win over the Netherlands at Parc Olympique Lyonnais.

Despite injury doubts to Rose Lavelle and Megan Rapinoe, both started, and head coach Jill Ellis made only one change from the semifinal victory over England, bringing Sam Mewis back into the starting XI for Lindsey Horan.

The first 15 minutes of the match was the first time all tournament that the Americans didn’t establish an early lead and the Netherlands seemed to take a page out of Spain’s playbook, fouling the U.S. repeatedly and often well behind the run of play. After more than a few hard hits against the Americans, Sherida Spitse finally earned a yellow card in just the 10th minute.

Through the 25th minute, the Americans continued to dominate possession, but it was the Netherlands that looked more dangerous, threatening on the counter. Only stout defensive plays from Crystal Dunn, Julie Ertz and Alyssa Naeher—coming well off her line to snuff out balls in behind—kept the game scoreless.

In the 27th minute, the U.S, generated their first real opportunity to score. A corner kick fell to Ertz, who hammered the ball on frame, but right at Sari van Veenendaal, who managed to parry the chance away.

Nine minutes later, Alex Morgan was on the end of another hard foul, this time in the box, but the center official didn’t blow her whistle. Immediately after, a flurry of action began in front of the Netherlands’ net.

In the 38th minute, Rapinoe fired two balls across the face of the Netherlands goal. Mewis redirected the first on frame, but it bounced off van Veenendaal, who knew nothing about it. Morgan directed the second service on net, but again, van Veenendaal got in front of the chance.

Two minutes after that, Morgan fired low from the top of the box and once again van Veenendaal made the stop to cap off a three saves in three minutes span.

The Netherlands continued their physical style throughout the half and it nearly paid dividends in the 40th minute when a hard hit on Rose Lavelle went uncalled. The Oranje counterattacked and only a foul by Abby Dahlkemper—which she received a yellow card for—stopped the play.

Despite the flurry of action, the game entered the half with the score tied at 0-0. Coming out of the locker room, Ali Krieger entered the match for Kelley O’Hara, who took a bad knock to the head near the end of the first half.

In the second stanza, neither side created much early on as the two teams struggled to win control of the midfield. In the 59 minute, Morgan was kicked in the arm in the box, but no call was initially made. After a VAR review, however, a penalty was given and Stefanie van der Gragt cautioned.

On the ensuing penalty, Rapinoe converted to give the U.S. a lead with 30 minutes to play.

Six minutes later, Vivianne Miedema slalomed through the American defense looking to equalize. She beat three defenders on the play, but as she did, the ones beaten early in the play recovered behind the ball to eventually snuff out chance.

However, in the 70th minute, it was the U.S. scoring the next goal. Rose Lavelle took the ball near midfield, carried it to the 18, cut back a defender to bring the ball over to her left, and fired home to double the U.S.’ advantage.

Two minutes after that Tobin Heath had a chance to put the game away, but fell down on her cutback move just outside the six and couldn’t get her shot off. Less than a minute later, Morgan had a similar chance one-on-one with van Veenendaal, but took a heavy touch and the goalkeeper smothered the ball.

In the 76th minute, the U.S. had a third chance to add a third goal, but once again van Veenendaal proved up to the task. Rapinoe put Dunn in behind the Netherlands’ defense and Dunn brought the ball in all alone. However, van Veenendaal got a hand to the shot and pushed it away from danger.

Three minutes later, the Americans’ poor finishing nearly came back to bite them. Dahlkemper committed a foul outside the box and on the free kick, Spitse fired a hard shot that went just inches wide.

As the game continued through the last 10 minutes of play, the U.S. continued to waste chances to put the game away with Morgan and Heath failing to convert opportunities in the 83rd minute and Heath yet another in the 85th. Still, the American defense closed down, poked away, or cleared every attempt the Netherlands made to work their way back into the contest as the score stayed 2-0.

Eventually, the final whistle blew and the U.S. had their fourth star, following World Cup wins in 1991, 1999, and 2015.

John D. Halloran is an American Soccer Now columnist. Follow him on Twitter.

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