U.S. doesn’t take bait of Colom­bia’s An­drade

Los Angeles Times - - WOMEN’S WORLD CUP - By Kevin Bax­ter kevin.bax­ter@latimes.com

ED­MON­TON, Canada — For some rea­son, the U.S. seems to bring out the worst in Colom­bia’s Lady An­drade.

The last time the two coun­tries met, in the 2012 Olympics, An­drade suck­er­punched Amer­i­can striker Abby Wam­bach, knock­ing her to the turf and black­en­ing her right eye. For that, An­drade earned a two-match sus­pen­sion.

Now, as Colom­bia pre­pares to meet the U.S. again Mon­day in the sec­ond round of the Women’s World Cup, she is try­ing to stir things up again, this time with her mouth.

Af­ter Colom­bia’s fi­nal group-play game in Mon­treal, An­drade, who scored two of her team’s four goals in the first round, ac­cused the U.S. of be­lit­tling her team, then pre­dicted the South Amer­i­cans would win Mon­day’s elim­i­na­tion game.

But if she was hop­ing to ig­nite a war of words, the U.S. wasn’t tak­ing the bait.

“Cer­tain play­ers pre­pare for games in dif­fer­ent ways,” for­ward Alex Mor­gan said. “Yes, we’ve see what Lady said. We’ve al­ways re­spected them. We want to let our ac­tions speak on the field.

“She didn’t do great things at the Olympic­sin terms of try­ing to take Abby out of thegame. But­this is a new tour­na­ment.”

For U.S. Coach Jill El­lis, An­drade wasn’t so much talk­ing trash as she­was show­ing con­fi­dence in her team mates— which is ex­actly what a leader should do.

“Peo­ple asked me, ‘Do you mind that she said she’s go­ing to win?’” El­lis said. “Shes hould say she’s go­ing towin. Ev­ery ath­lete here is an elite ath­lete. At that level, you should have self-belief in what you can do.

“Does it de­rail us? Dowe fo­cus on it? No. I just want to win the game.”

Mor­gan never doubted Cup ap­pear­ance

Mor­gan’s start in the fi­nal game of group play last week was her first for the na­tional team in more than two months, her ab­sence the re­sult of a bone bruise to her left knee. But even as the in­jury lin­gered, Mor­gan said she­was con­fi­dent she’d play in the World Cup.

“I can’t re­ally say if there was much doubt be­cause I guess I re­ally didn’t let that creep in­tomy mind,” said Mor­gan, who has bat­tled in­juries for most of the last two years. “I knew that no mat­ter what per­cent­age my body felt, once I got on the field I would be play­ing like I had no in­juries.”

In her 65 min­utes against Nige­ria, Mor­gan breathed new life into the Amer­i­cans’ mori­bund at­tack. And though her two best scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties were both turned away, Mor­gan said the of­fense, which has scored just four goals here, is be­gin­ning to find a rhythm.

“It’s go­ing to come,” she said. “We used those group-stage [games] as build­ing blocks. And I think we’re go­ing to keep get­ting bet­ter. It was cre­ative and I felt like our at­tack was a lit­tle bit more un­pre­dictable than the game be­fore.”

Mak­ing mem­o­ries

Wam­bach hasn’t made any de­fin­i­tive an­nounce­ment about her fu­ture be­yond this tour­na­ment, but at 35 this would fig­ure to be her last World Cup. So she in­tends to en­joy it. “I do want to take it in and stop and smell the roses— for mo­ments, at least. In the short term, yeah, there could be heart­break, right? But in the long term, big pic­ture, this is mas­sive for women’s football,” Wam­bach said of this World Cup, the largest and long­est in history.

“And I don’t want to for­get about those things, no mat­ter what the re­sults are on those given days. No mat­ter how this turns out for our spe­cific team, this is still a fan­tas­tic show.”

Franck Fife AFP/Getty Im­ages

COLOM­BIA’S Lady An­drade ac­cused the U.S. of be­lit­tling her team; the twom­eet Mon­day.

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