2015 WWC: Clash of the Titans – Top Two Teams meet in the Semis: USA 2-0 Germany

3 Jul

635712173895518421-Untitled-1I’m very tempted to write this ALL IN CAPS for Silvia Neid but the crowd in Montreal beat me to it. Roof or no roof, this crowd was LOUD.

And in her defense, the US did play with confidence and flair. So yep, Siliva, the US was loud and proud!

All trash talk aside, this was an excellent game from the whistle. Both keepers were in action within ten minutes and both teams put their opponents under a lot of pressure throughout the first half. And this half put the strengths and weaknesses of each team on display. The US defense was rock solid and while the midfield was very much improved, finishing was still faulty. The German midfield was strong but the German defense seems confused and unprepared. However, Nadine Angerer was, in a word, awesome. Her defense, especially using her feet, was spot on.

Adrian Healy of ESPN believed that might be a German birthright.

This match had everything in it and sadly, not all good. A massive collision between Morgan Brian and Alexandra Popp brought up the discussion of concussions back to the forefront. Massive kudos to the referee, a former player herself, for giving the proper time and space for the medical staff to do their jobs. Alexandra Popp had a lot of blood but it looked like Morgan Brian was the worse for wear. She was able to get back in but this is one more area that FIFA must must must address. I was not thrilled with one commentator saying Brian’s youth will allow her to shake it off…this is exactly part of the problem.

Slate has an article with a video of the hit here.

Jun 30, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; United States midfielder Morgan Brian (14) and Germany forward Alexandra Popp (18) collide attempting a header during the first half of the semifinals of the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup at Olympic Stadium. Brian and Popp were injured on the play. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports - RTX1IIDQ

Jun 30, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; United States midfielder Morgan Brian (14) and Germany forward Alexandra Popp (18) collide attempting a header during the first half of the semifinals of the FIFA 2015 Women’s World Cup at Olympic Stadium. Brian and Popp were injured on the play. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports – RTX1IIDQ

070115-Soccer-USA-Morgan-Brian-Germany-Alexandra-Popp-PI-JE.vadapt.620.high.0635712918856605672-USATSI-8674683Alex Morgan had some good chances but couldn’t capitalize. She was a bit selfish on the ball with two occasions insisting on going for an awkward angle, rather than passing to Heath who could have gone closer to ground where Angerer is vulnerable. By the early parts of the second half, Morgan’s body language was all wrong. Here would have been a good opportunity to bring in Amy Rodriguez who had such a good game against China. Her speed and creativity would have helped.

The other issue was the repeated fouls by the German midfield. Both Popp and Maier had to be warned on a regular basis by the referee and honestly, both were lucky to not have had a few cards to their names.

MIttag and Sasic were surprisingly quiet throughout the beginning of the match but both began to put their feet on the gas around the hour mark. And yep, that’s around the time the first of the big controversies of the match came up. Julie Johnston was caught with a foul in the box on Mittag and gave up a penalty. The discussion about whether or not she should have received a red will be debated. The fact that Sasic missed the penalty would make it all the more painful for the Germans.

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Ten minutes later saw another controversial call for the Americans – and a second penalty. This time the penalty was against the Germans. This was a rough call as the foul seemed to start outside the box. Martin Rodgers gave some insight into the call.

Carli Lloyd converted and Adrian Healy added some American based humor, remembering American frustration with Torsten Frings all those years ago.

Here’s the video:

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United States' Carli Lloyd (10) scores a penalty shot against Germany keeper Nadine Angerer during the second half of a semifinal in the Women's World Cup soccer tournament, Tuesday, June 30, 2015, in Montreal, Canada. The United States won 2-0. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

United States’ Carli Lloyd (10) scores a penalty shot against Germany keeper Nadine Angerer during the second half of a semifinal in the Women’s World Cup soccer tournament, Tuesday, June 30, 2015, in Montreal, Canada. The United States won 2-0. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

Strange substitutions by both sides followed, beginning with the 75th minute with Anja Mitagg off for Dzsenifer Maroszan and then followed by Wambach in for Rapinoe. The German sub was rough to watch because Maroszan was clearly not well…was limping within minutes of coming in. This was the only time I can remember Germans showing their cards at all. Only a desperate move could explain this move IMHO. And the Wambach- Rapinoe sub was odd because Rapinoe, while being fouled constantly, was still getting more done. Why she came out and not Morgan is a mystery to me.

But one substitution I was thrilled about was the Kelley O’Hara sub for Tobin Heath. Kelley O’Hara had a wonderful match against China and I was disappointed she didn’t earn a start for this match. Regardless, she made her mark with a lovely goal.

635712954358988397-USP-SOCCER-WOMEN-S-WORLD-CUP-SEMIFINAL-UNITED-STA-74191400And that’s really all she wrote. It was a tough match with end to end action. The Germans will be unhappy with their performance and will rue that Lady Luck shined on the Stars and Stripes in Montreal. The Americans did step up their pace and took advantage of their luck in the second half. They will need to do so in the final and work on that finishing.

Here are the must watch highlights (though isn’t it interesting that the collision didn’t make the hightlight reel from FIFA?)

Lineups

USA:
Solo; Krieger, Sauerbrunn, Johnston, Klingenberg; Holiday, Brian, Lloyd (capt.), Rapinoe (Wambach), Morgan (Leroux, ), Heath (O’Hara)

GER :
Angerer (capt.); Maier, Krahn, Bartusiak, Kemme; Laudehr, Goessling, Mittag (Marozsan), Leupolz, Popp; Sasic

Attendance: 51,176 Montreal

– ForzaSusan

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