U.S. women settle for soccer draw against Colombia
- Despite the draw, the Americans finished first in Group F.
- Mallory Pugh and Crystal Dunn scored for the Americans.
- Catalina Usme scored both Colombia goals.
MANAUS, Brazil — With time running out, Catalina Usme beat Hope Solo with a free kick from a tight angle to give Colombia a 2-2 draw against the United States on Tuesday at the Olympics.
Usme also scored in the 26th minute to give the Colombians an early 1-0 lead. It was the team’s first-ever Olympic goal, and first-ever goal against the United States.
Despite the draw, the top-ranked United States still finished atop Group F.
Teenager Mallory Pugh became the youngest player to score for the United States in an Olympics with her goal in the 59th minute, giving the Americans a 2-1 lead. Crystal Dunn also scored for the defending champions.
The U.S. women’s team, the reigning World Cup champions, is vying for its fourth straight Olympic gold medal.
Pugh, just 18, came into the game as a first-half substitute for midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who played in her first match since having ACL surgery in December.
In addition to Rapinoe, United States coach Jill Ellis made several other changes to her starting lineup, sitting regular starters Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath and Meghan Klingenberg. Julie Johnston, who sat out the second game with groin injury, was also on the bench.
Morgan came in after the half for Carli Lloyd. Pugh, who hurt her ankle in the 2-0 opening win against New Zealand, went in when Rapinoe was pulled in the 33rd minute as temperatures hovered in the upper 80s.
The match in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest was an announced sellout, with many fans awaiting the late game between host Brazil and South Africa. The crowd was on the side of the underdogs from the start and cheered wildly when Usme scored her first goal. The free kick bounced between Solo’s legs.
The fans also taunted Solo by chanting “Zika! Zika!” The jeers have accompanied the U.S. goalkeeper throughout the Olympic tournament because of posts she made on social media about the virus that is spread by mosquitoes.
It was just the fifth goal that Solo has allowed this year. The veteran goalkeeper has a record 102 shutouts in international play.
Dunn, playing in her first Olympics with the national team, tied the match with a rebound after Lloyd’s shot bounced back off the crossbar in the 41st minute. Pugh’s goal slid between numerous Colombia players before finding the back of the net in the second half.
Colombia had already been eliminated with losses in its first two matches. On Monday, coach Fabian Taborda said Usme had an injured left knee, while Lady Andrade and Carolina Arias were suffering from “exhaustion.” But all three started.
Colombia is considered one of South America’s top teams, along with neighboring Brazil. Las Cafeteras, as they’re known, surprised many when they advanced to the knockout round in the World Cup last year.
The Amazonia Arena was built for the men’s World Cup in 2014. Since then, the stadium has seen few big events, except for some lower-division soccer matches and religious events, until the Olympics.
In other matches Tuesday, the final day of group play, Melissa Tancredi scored both goals as Canada defeated Germany 2-1 in Brasilia. Both Group F teams advanced to the quarterfinals.
Michelle Heyman scored twice as Australia defeated Zimbabwe 6-1 in Salvador. With the win, the Matildas are assured a spot in the quarterfinals. Zimbabwe was already eliminated.