Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Ali­cia DelGallo

REIMS, France — The match started the way every­one ex­pected it to, with a United States goal. Fans in the sta­dium roared in ap­proval and chanted with glee.

But two min­utes later, Spain be­came the first team in the tour­na­ment to score on the Amer­i­cans. What fol­lowed was a high-in­ten­sity, gritty match the USWNT won 2-1 off a pair of penalty kicks con­verted by Me­gan Rapi­noe.

The Mon­day evening vic­tory sent the U.S. through to the quar­ter­fi­nals of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, and sent Spain home.

“When you get into the knock­out round, it’s al­ways so much more pres­sure and so much more tense, ev­ery­thing mat­ters, ev­ery play mat­ters,” Rapi­noe said. “I think halfway through the se­cond half we said, ‘We needed to take this up a notch.’ Ob­vi­ously, there’s quite a few of us that have been there in th­ese big games to sort of re­al­ize those mo­ments, and that ex­pe­ri­ence was re­ally big for us to­day.”

Spain started off fiery on at­tack, im­me­di­ately threat­en­ing the U.S. goal. But just a few min­utes into the game, de­fender Abby Dahlkem­per played a long ball for­ward to Tobin Heath, who took it into the box. The Spain de­fender try­ing to stay with Heath stepped on her foot and the ref­eree awarded a penalty kick. Rapi­noe sent the 7thminute PK into the lower left cor­ner of the net.

Two min­utes later, U.S. goal­keeper

Alyssa Nae­her played a ball out of the back to Becky Sauer­brunn, de­spite heavy pres­sure from Spain. Lu­cia Gar­cia stole the ball and got it to Jen­nifer Her­moso, who took her time at the top of the box and ri­fled the ball over Nae­her’s head to tie the game at 1.

“That was just one big mis­take, and I ac­tu­ally think she re­sponded re­ally well to it,”

Sauer­brunn said of Nae­her, who went on to make some im­por­tant stops.

Spain con­tin­ued to find open space in the mid­field and get be­hind defenders on the United States’ left side. The USWNT coun­tered and also looked dan­ger­ous, but passes be­tween the mid­field­ers and for­wards looked some­what dis­jointed and the fi­nal touch often flew off-tar­get.

The score re­mained the same un­til the end of what was the most ac­tion-packed and tense half the United

States had played all tour­na­ment. Spain kept up with the Amer­i­cans’ speed and phys­i­cal­ity into the se­cond half.

“We knew there would be times they’d pos­sess well. I guess I wasn’t ex­pect­ing the phys­i­cal­ity as much,” U.S. striker Alex Mor­gan said. “I don’t know about any­body else, but I was feel­ing it. Our chi­ro­prac­tor was here and I don’t think I’ll need him any­more be­cause I got a good crack.”

The an­nounced crowd of 19,633 largely fa­vored the

Amer­i­cans, but dur­ing a mo­ment late in the se­cond half, chants in sup­port of Spain rang through Stade Au­gusteDe­laune.

Rose Lavelle had just fallen while streak­ing through the box. The ref­eree called a penalty. The re­play seemed to show min­i­mal con­tact be­tween a Spain player’s cleat and Lavelle’s calf. It took an un­usu­ally long time for the of­fi­cial to sig­nal for video re­view, which sparked the chants and boos from Span­ish fans.


USA's Me­gan Rapi­noe scores her side's se­cond goal of the game from the penalty spot against Spain on Mon­day.

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