Team USA have been dominating headlines all World Cup, but it’s as much for what they’ve done off the field as on it. Abby Wambach was the most recent example, accusing the ref of their Colombia match for purposefully awarding cards to Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe so they’d miss the quarterfinals.
But regardless of what has happened around them, the team will have to step up their game to beat China PR today at Lansdowne Stadium (7:30 PM Eastern) for a spot in the semi finals.
Team USA has been good enough to get here, but hasn’t impressed anybody in the process, beating Australia (3-1), and Nigeria (1-0), and getting a draw against Sweden (0-0) in the Group Stage. They beat Colombia (2-0) in the round of 16, but still haven’t like the dominant squad many selected to win the tournament.
“This is the World Cup; I am really satisfied with advancing,” US head coach Jill Ellis told Reuters after the win against Colombia. “Most of the goals in World Cup tournaments, the majority of them come on set-pieces, we have been brilliant. It is about finding a way. I thought we stroked the ball around pretty well at times. So I am pleased with where we are.”
China has done just enough scoring to make it this far, averaging just one goal per game. China was defeated in the opening game of the tournament by Canada (1-0), and bounced back against Netherlands (1-0), plus a draw against New Zealand (2-2): in their Round of 16 matchup against Cameroon one goal was enough to get to the quarterfinals (1-0).
Team USA has won seven of the last eight meetings in the series, holding China without a goal in five of those seven wins. Even with the two suspended midfielders, expect Hope Solo and the group in front of her to stymie the Chinese again.
Pick: USA (-250).
(Photo Credit: Christopher Johnson [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)