The USA looked to be in dire straits again in the Women's World Cup, tied at one with France, but looking helpless in the run of play during the second half of Wednesday's quarterfinal. Tactically, France was dominating the midfield, setting up dangerous chances and testing Hope Solo often. But thanks to a quick burst that included two goals in just a few minutes, the USA went from on its heels to in complete control, once again using late heroics to stave-off elimination in the Women's World Cup.
Lauren Cheney got the scoring going for the USA, netting a ninth minute goal to put the Americans on top. Heather O'Reilly came steaming in from the left flank, placing a beautiful cross right on the boot of Cheney. She finished the chance and the USA was in front early.
But in the second half, France got one back, equalizing on Sonia Bompastore's cross-turned-shot. Solo clearly expected a French attacker to get a head on the ball and was unable to cover the back post. With the score tied, France kept pushing, and it felt as though it was a matter of time before they got another.
The momentum turned on a set piece, and Abby Wambach was the hero again. A deep cross to the back post found Wambach's head, leaving France powerful to make a stop. Up 2-1, the USA was in control with just 10 minutes to go, but still had business to take care of with the French continuing to push forward.
Alex Morgan put the game out of reach just a few minutes later, using her superb speed to get behind the French back-line, earning a one-on-one chance with the keeper. She finished clinically, chipping the keeper to find the back of the net and give the USA a two-goal lead. It was a wonderful finish, and just what the doctor ordered for the American side.
The USA controlled the final seven minutes, keeping France off the scoreboard, and advanced to the Women's World Cup finals with a 3-1 win. Maybe Solo was right, and perhaps this is a team of destiny. Once again, they kept fighting and found a way to suddenly hit the gas and slam the door on France in the Women's World Cup semifinals.
For more on the tournament, be sure to visit SB Nation Soccer's 2011 Women's World Cup StoryStream. Stay with this StoryStream for more on Hope Solo and the United States Womens National Team.