The US wrapped up the group stages undefeated downing Sweden 2-0 to top their group in the 2019 World Cup.
The US secured the win with an early goal by Lindsey Horan, and an own goal in the second half brought about by a shot (cross?) by Tobin Heath. With those goals the US set a record for goals scored in the group stages with 18.
After making a number of changes from their opening game, the US was back to their starting lineup from the first game, with the only difference being Julie Ertz missing out because of an injury.
Becky Sauerbrunn slotted into central defense, and Samantha Mewis started again in midfield.
Despite strong talk going into the match, Sweden rotated a number of players before the match, virtually conceeding the group win, and possible quarterfinal match with France that comes with it.
The US scored just 3 mins in, with Lindsey Horan poking the ball in the net from a Megan Rapinoe corner kick.
Sweden was able to better impose themselves on the game than Chile or Thailand, and though they never seemed like they were going to win the game, they did ask some questions of the US at the back, especially going after Crystal Dunn, who though very skilled and talented, is not a natural left back.
Still, the US was able to fend off all of Sweden’s efforts and made it 2-0 in the second half.
The goal was credited to Tobin Heath initially, but then eventually switched to an own goal as the game went on.
The scoreline never changed, and the US finished the game rather comfortably.
The one downer on the day was that Alex Morgan picked up an injury in the first half, and had to be substituted at halftime for Carli Lloyd.
It’s unclear what Morgan’s status is going forward, but Jill Ellis characterized it more as a precaution than a serious injury in her postgame comments.
The US round of 16 opponent is Spain, and though they should be able to beat them even if the injuries are more seriously than we thought, the US will need Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz playing if they indeed want to win the World Cup.
The US plays Spain on Monday at 9 am PT. If they win that game, they will take on the winner of France and Brazil in the Quarterfinals.
The Group Stage is over. Now the real fun begins.
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