USWNT vs. Colombia score: Alex Morgan sets tone as USA cruise into W Gold Cup semis with Lindsey Horan penalty

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USATSI

The U.S. women's national team cruised to victory on Sunday in the Concacaf W Gold Cup quarterfinals, beating Colombia 3-0 in a game that served as a strong response to last week's loss to Mexico. As always you can catch all the W Gold Cup coverage across Paramount+, CBS Sports Network, and CBS Sports Golazo Network.

The hosts were off to a quick start when Lindsey Horan scored a penalty in the 13th minute, while Jenna Nighswonger scored a second in the 22nd minute and Jaedyn Shaw added one more before halftime. Alex Morgan played a big role in the first two goals, drawing the penalty and then setting up Nighswonger with a header. 

The goals are representative of an impressive outing for the USWNT, who were able to successfully execute a game plan that worked. Though Colombia had the majority of possession, the U.S. used that game state to break lines whenever they could and kickstarted the attack in the process. The hosts were also able to play out of the back whenever they did have the ball and showcased their own firepower in the process.

The impressive collective showing was matched by a meaningful outing for several individuals, including Nighswonger. Veterans goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher also stood out with several important saves in her 100th cap, but the headlining act was Morgan, who made her strongest case yet to stay in the mix for the Olympics.

Morgan stands out

Morgan came into this tournament on a year-long goalless run in a national team jersey and only joined the squad to replace the injured Mia Fishel, but the 34-year-old has worked her way into a big role at the Gold Cup. It was a little bit of a surprise when she was named among the starters, but she ultimately served as the headlining act on Sunday.


The forward took just two shots, but it's because she excelled in a more supporting role in which she is no longer the focal point of the USWNT's attack. She drew the penalty that Horan scored and was a distraction for Colombia's defense on Nighswonger's goal, two moments that were emblematic of her 72-minute showing. She also generated 0.88 expected goals on her own, showcasing a bit of her trademark self in the process.

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What's next

The USWNT return to play on Wednesday, when they face Canada in the semifinals. You can watch the match at 10:15 p.m. ET on Paramount+.

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FT: USA 3-0 COL

The second half was much more mellow than the first, but that's sometimes how things go when one team knocks the wind out of the opposition's sails. It's a job well done for the USWNT, who put on a show that a vast improvement from the loss to Mexico on Monday. The headlining acts were Morgan and Nighswonger but they are amongst several strong performers this evening that resets the U.S.' track to Paris -- and keeps the fight for roster spots as competitive as ever.

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More changes for the U.S.

72' Smith and Moultrie come on, while Morgan and Albert come off. That caps off a strong outing for the pair coming off, especially Morgan, who had plenty to prove with the start and did just that with one of her best outings in a national team jersey in recent months.

 
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USWNT keep the tempo

63' The USWNT's second half performance has so far been a slightly milder version of the first half showing, but they continue to demonstrate a strong ability to execute a game plan that's working well so far.

 
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Another change for the USWNT

56' Lavelle comes off for Shaw, who made a strong impact in her shift tonight. A fun fact as she takes a seat on the bench -- Shaw is the first USWNT player to score in each of her first three starts since Shannon Boxx.

 
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Second half underway

The USWNT make one change for the second half - Purce comes on for Rodman, who was on a yellow but notched an assist before coming off.

 
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HT: USA 3-0 COL

The USWNT have led a very entertaining match so far, coming out with a very strong response to Monday's loss so far. The standout of the first half was Morgan, who drew the penalty and has been an active part of the hosts' attack by offering up opportunities for her teammates, bolstering her case for a spot at the Olympics in the process.

Nighswonger and Albert are also amongst the notable performers in the first half and the same goes for Naeher, who made two very important stops to keep the USWNT's advantage so far.

 
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USA 3-0 COL

45'+2 The USWNT adds one more to their account before the break. Fox wins the ball yards from box and plays the ball to Rodman, who makes a nice dash down the right flank and sends a pass across the goal to Shaw, who scores her third goal of the tournament.

 
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Momentum for Colombia

40' Colombia are creating moments for themselves now and have inched closer to goal, including forcing a stunning save out of Naeher on a shot from Izquierdo. This match continues to live up to the billing.

 
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Caicedo forces a save

32' Colombia make a (so far) rare forward play and Caicedo takes a shot, forcing a save out of Naeher on her 100th cap. The goalkeeper was up for the task, so far putting out a better showing than her shaky performance against Mexico.

 
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USA 2-0 COL

22' The USWNT double their lead, courtesy of Nighswonger. Girma takes a freekick from inside her own half and sends it towards Morgan in the box, but Carabali's clearance lands in Nighswonger's direction as the NWSL rookie of the year was making a run down the left flank. From there, Nighswonger smashes the ball into the back of the net from inside the box.

 
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Passions high

15' The USWNT are playing with plenty of energy and passion, as well as some flair. Within the span of a couple of minutes, we saw Rodman nutmeg an opponent, Morgan receive a yellow card after the teams engaged in a shouting (and shoving) match and Shaw deliver an important shot off a corner. the USWNT are also taking advantage of Colombia's sloppy attempts to play out of the back so far. Long story short, it's been a bright start for the hosts.

 
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USA 1-0 COL

13' Horan does not give into the distractions from Colombia and cooly slots the ball into the bottom right-hand corner from the penalty spot. The USWNT are officially in the lead early on in this match.

 
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Penalty to the USWNT

10' Morgan makes a dash towards goal and Carabali goes in for the foul, conceding a penalty and giving the USWNT a chance to take the lead early on. Horan to take.

 
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Horan takes a shot

8' Rodman combines with Horan in the box for the first somewhat meaningful shot of the game, but Durango's deflection means Giraldo has an easy stop to make.

 
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Let the game begin

The final quarterfinal of the Gold Cup is officially underway! One fun fact as the game starts -- the USWNt is opting for youth in one of their most inexperienced lineups in a competitive match ever.

 
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O'Hara on learning experiences

Two-time Women's World Cup winner Kelley O'Hara is in the studio for Paramount+'s coverage of tonight's match, and she viewed Monday's 2-0 loss to Mexico as a chance for the USWNT to learn some important lessons before July's Olympics.

  • O'Hara: "As hard as it was to watch the U.S. lose 2-0, I actually think it was a great learning lesson for the whole team. A lot of these players are younger, less experienced and they haven't been with the U.S. when they've been put under pressure and had to claw back and come back. That's part of playing for the U.S., it's being able to handle the pressure and it's good for this to happen now because I think it's going to get them ready for the Olympics."

Watch the full segment below.

 
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Caicedo leads Colombia's line

Teen sensation Linda Caicedo headlines Colombia's lineup as they aim to get the upset over the USWNT, while talented forward Catalina Usme will also be among those called upon to put in a big performance. Here's a look at Colombia's lineup.

Colombia starting XI: Giraldo, Arias, Carabali, Arias, Vanegas, Montoya, Bedoya Durango, Izquierdo Zanger, Sepúlveda, Usme, Caicedo

 
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Bracket watch

The USWNT's clash with Colombia is the last of the quarterfinals, meaning the bracket for Wednesday's semifinals are nearly set. Canada advanced after an extra time win over Costa Rica, while Brazil thumped Argentina to advance and Mexico won a high-scoring nailbiter against Paraguay earlier today. Here's a look at the bracket.

Canada vs. USWNT/Colombia, 7 p.m. on Paramount+
Brazil vs. Mexico, 10:15 p.m. on Paramount+

 
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A mix of youth and experience

Twila Kilgore makes six changes to the lineup, notably dropping Crystal Dunn, Rose Lavelle and Sophia Smith after a less-than-ideal showing against Mexico. It comes as little surprise that Naomi Girma and Tierna Davidson come in for Becky Sauerbrunn and Abby Dahlkemper, but tonight's lineup could signal votes of confidence in Jaedyn Shaw, Jenna Nighswonger, Korbin Albert -- and perhaps Alex Morgan.

Here's a look at the lineup.

USWNT starting XI: Naeher, Fox, Davidson, Girma, Nighswonger, Coffey, Albert, Horan, Shaw, Rodman, Morgan

Substitutes: Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Williams, Purce, Smith, Moultrie, Sonnett, Lavelle, Murphy, Dunn, Krueger, Campbell

 
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Hello and welcome!

Six long days after their surprising loss to Mexico, the USWNT are back in action in arguably the hardest quarterfinal matchup of the inaugural Concacaf W Gold Cup -- a faceoff against an on-the-rise Colombia. Follow along for live updates once the game begins and stay tuned for pre-match coverage, including the day's first big question: Who will Twila Kilgore start after last week's unsuccessful outing from several veteran players?

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