US women beat Colombia 2-0; World Cup qualifying next
SANDY, Utah (AP) — Kelley O’Hara scored in the 77th minute after a lengthy lightning delay, and the U.S. women beat Colombia 2-0 on Tuesday night in their final tuneup ahead of World Cup qualifying.
The United States extended its unbeaten streak to 69 games on home soil. Lightning was reported near Rio Tinto Stadium in the 75th minute, causing play to be suspended for more than 30 minutes.
It was the second of two games against Colombia as both teams prepare for World Cup qualifying in July. The U.S. will try for a third straight World Cup title next summer in Australia and New Zealand.
The Americans went ahead on an own goal from Colombia’s Manuela Vanegas off a cross from U.S. right back Sofia Huerta. It was the fifth own goal from a U.S. opponent this year.
O’Hara, a veteran defender, scored her third international goal and first since 2016.
“The takeaways were that we do have a very good team and that we found a way to get goals in different ways,” U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “Even though today I would say it was not our best performance, we still managed to score goals and get off the field successfully.”
Carson Pickett started for the United States, becoming the first player with a limb difference to appear for the national team. A defender who plays for the North Carolina Courage, Pickett was born without a left hand and forearm.
Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan started after coming off the bench for the team’s first game against Colombia, a 3-0 victory on Saturday in Commerce City, Colorado. Morgan had a good chance in the waning moments of the first half, but her shot hit the crossbar.
The United States will next head to Monterrey, Mexico, for the CONCACAF W Championship. The top four teams earn berths in the World Cup, and the winner also gets a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“It was the type of game that we’re most likely going to have, or the type of opponent most likely we’re going to face in the CONCACAF championship,” Andonovski said about Tuesday’s friendly. “It was physical and very, tight. It was good for us to prepare.”
The U.S. team is set to depart for Mexico on Wednesday. Their W Championship opener against Haiti is set for Monday.
Colombia hosts the Copa America Femenina starting on July 8, which will determine CONMEBOL’s three direct qualifiers for the World Cup.
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