The first time this 2019 FIFA World Cup, the United States Women’s National Team headed to halftime without a lead, entertaining a 1-1 draw with Spain.

It was the first time the USWNT conceded a goal in 647 minutes, dating back to an April friendly vs Australia. Spain showed the US early that, they weren’t just another team.

Looks like we have ourselves a match.

It was a match alright, US found themselves in the toughest game so far, as they hung on to beat Spain 2-1. The Americans found themselves in a sloppy, sweaty, and physical game Monday night.

This knockout round was full of intensity, and rightfully so. The Spanish made it interesting at times when on the attacking third, but failed to overcome US’ stout defense.

Spain had become the most ascending team in recent World Cup history, embodying in many ways the global flow of power. They are potentially the future of the sport, and showed that their homage to the game is paying off dividends.

While this was a physical game, more of the focus were on the sloppy play on the Americans part, and also the mistakes.

US’ goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher, made a huge mistake early in the game with a dangerous pass that lead to a Spain goal for the equalizer. Naeher, as well as Becky Sauerbrunn, and the backline, ended up redeeming themselves with a clean sheet for the remainder of the game.

Captain/midfielder, Megan Rapinoe, saved the day for the US, scoring two penalty kicks at the start and close of the game. The Americans survived Spain, and luckily, their faults didn’t get the best of them.

Sometimes about being a champion is overcoming mistakes. Rapinoe shared her admiration for the team’s will and character.

“That’s World Cup grit right there.”

Rapinoe may get the game ball, but in some instances she failed to capitalize on making runs on the wing, and when the play was onside.

Alex Morgan, another team captain, did not play her best game. It seemed she was in discomfort early on, making her not much of a factor in the match.

US Head Coach, Jill Ellis, didn’t have her best day either.  Ellis made some questionable coaching decisions to say the least, this was another big headline of the game.

Ellis failed to use her substitutions wisely, if it all during the entire match. Alex Morgan, again, was hobbling early, and should have been subbed for Carli Llyod much earlier than the 81’ minute.

Luckily, the US women found a way to win, and that’s what champions do.

Photo Credited to Sports Illustrated and Zhizhao Wu:

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