US gains WCup quarters with 3-0 rout of Colombia

The U.S. advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup

by routing Colombia 3-0 with goals from Heather O’Reilly, Megan

Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd on Saturday.

The two-time World Cup champions advanced to the last eight with

Sweden, which beat North Korea 1-0 in the early Group C match.

The U.S. and Sweden, one of two teams to beat the Americans this

year, meet on Wednesday in Wolfsburg to determine the group

winner.

”I’m just really proud of this team,” O’Reilly said. ”I think

we did some great stuff today.”

Colombia is a team on the rise, finishing fourth at the Under-20

World Cup last year. But the youngsters were no match for the more

experienced Americans. The U.S. harassed goalkeeper Sandra

Sepulveda relentlessly, and she didn’t get much help from her

defenders, who were shredded by the speedy O’Reilly time and again

– and set up O’Reilly’s goal in the 12th minute.

Colombia was trying to clear a botched goal kick, but it bounced

off Liana Salazar and fell to O’Reilly. She took a few steps and

then blasted a right-footed shot from 25 meters (yards) that

Sepulveda had no chance to stop. It was O’Reilly’s third World Cup

goal, and 30th overall.

”Pia’s always saying, `If you have space in front of you, just

take it,”’ O’Reilly said. ”I took a couple of touches and just

let it fly.”

The sellout crowd of 25,475, made up mostly of U.S. fans,

erupted in cheers, and the players lined up to give a salute to

American military members. There is a U.S. Army base in nearby

Mannheim, and about 350 service members and their families turned

out to watch the team practice on Thursday.

The Americans could have had another four or five goals just in

the first half alone. But, just as they have much of the year, they

struggled to finish.

”It still was OK because we were creating chances,” U.S. coach

Pia Sundhage said.

The U.S. quickly put the game out of reach in the second half,

with Rapinoe scoring in the 50th and Lloyd in the 57th.

Rapinoe, who replaced Amy Rodriguez at halftime, took a throw-in

for the U.S. that Cheney collected. She dished off to Rapinoe, who

made a thunderous shot from just inside the penalty box. Sepulveda

managed to get a hand on Lloyd’s shot from point-blank range, but

couldn’t stop it.

Colombia’s best chance came in the 54th off substitute Orianica

Velasquez, whose shot had to be punched away by Hope Solo.

Lineups

Colombia: Sandra Sepulveda; Natalia Gaitan, Nataly Arias, Kelis

Peduzine, Fatima Montano; Diana Ospina, Carmen Rodallega, Liana

Salazar (Yoreli Rincon, 55), Yulieht Dominguez; Catalina Usme

(Orianica Velasquez, 54), Katerin Castro.

United States: Hope Solo; Christie Rampone, Rachel Buehler, Amy

LePeilbet (Stephanie Cox, 56), Ali Krieger; Carli Lloyd, Lori

Lindsey, Heather O’Reilly (Tobin Heath, 62), Lauren Cheney; Abby

Wambach, Amy Rodriguez (Megan Rapinoe, 46).