Happy 4th of July, from the US women’s soccer team

July 02, 2011 | Paul Hoke

The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be entering the quarterfinal stage after the upcoming week, and thanks to a 3-0 win over a young and overmatched Colombian side, the United States women’s team will be a part of that conversation.

Heather O’Reilly scored the first US goal 12 minutes in with an absolute laser beam of a shot, after taking the ball following a Colombian turnover.  Their celebration after the goal, a team salute to the American service members on hand at the game, was a touching tribute.  If you get a chance, google it.  Beautiful US goalkeeper Hope Solo went pretty much untested through the first half, as the much more experienced and seasoned Americans controlled the pace of the game.  If forward Amy Rodriguez had been more on her game, the score could have been 3-0 in the game’s opening half, instead, the Americans waltzed into halftime with what appeared to be the most comfortable 1-0 lead in soccer history.  The closest Colombia came to scoring is when Katerin Castro drilled a shot past Solo, after the offsides flag went up.  Colombian keeper Sandra Sepulveda did a yeoman’s job in net for the young squad, and in this writer’s opinion, she was the reason, and the only reason, Colombia came out of halftime with any chance at all.

That chance soon evaporated as Second half sub Megan Rapinoe buried her first chance, to give the Americans a 2-0 lead in the game’s 50th minute.  Ironically, it was Rodriguez who Rapinoe came into sub for, and after Rodriguez missed a couple of open chances in front of the net in the first half, Rapinoe struck just five minutes into the second half.  Seven minutes later, Carli Llyod fired a missle past Sepulveda for the match’s third and final goal.

The United States spent the next 33 minutes basically toying with the young Colombians, as the never really mounted any chances.  The only threat to Solo’s clean sheet came from Colombian sub, Orianica Velasquez, who took a shot from 25-30 yards out on her first touch, that Hope had to dive to her right to defend.  Neither Velasquez, nor Colombia put up much of a fight after that.

The win moved the Americans into the quarterfinals with only Wednesday’s match against Sweden remaining in the group phase.  Even with their ticket punched, the US women need a win or draw over Sweden, to win their group, and avoid a quarterfinal meeting with powerhouse Brazil.

All in all, a great kick off to the Fourth of July weekend, with the American women defeating Colombia, in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Thank you, ladies, and as always, God Bless America.  Now, the greatest rendition of our National Anthem…..I really do love this country.  This girl is 7 years old, by the way.