Aug 3, 2012; Newcastle, United Kingdom; USA forward Sydney Leroux (center) celebrates with forward Lauren Cheney (12) and midfielder Carli Lloyd (10) after scoring in the second half of the women's quarterfinal match during the London 2012 Olympic Games at St James' Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
In yet another match that was more about defense than anything else, the USWNT breezed by yet another team on their quest for Olympic gold. The victim this time around? New Zealand. Very similar to the previous match against North Korea, the US Women would only need one goal (they would get 2) to win this one, letting the defense do most of the work during the run of play at St. James Park. The defense and Hope Solo that is.
Though not the MVP of this match, Solo has to be talked about first just because of the streak she has built up since the second half of the USWNT's first match against France. The star goalkeeper now has a scoreless streak of 345 minutes, a pretty amazing and impressive feat. While she hasn't had much work to do, when she has been needed, she has made it look easy.
With Solo doing what she does best and a strong defense around her, this match against New Zealand was pretty much a given for the USWNT to win. Despite some off and on scoring chances from the Kiwis, there was never a real sense of danger. With Abby Wambach picking up a 27th minute goal off a pass from Alex Morgan, the USWNT never really looked back.
Even with the lack of goals coming from Morgan, the young phenom is far from struggling. Since the Olympics have started, Morgan has picked up two goals and three assists. Those are impressive numbers, especially for someone playing in their first Olympic Games. The lack of goals in the past three games? Simply put, bad luck and superb goalkeeping. They don't call her "Baby Horse" for nothing. No matter if the pass is unreachable, Alex Morgan goes after every ball she is given and never hesitates to take a shot. Have some faith, she'll have more goals before the games are over.
There is a good chance that once Abby Wambach retires, Sydney Leroux will earn a starting XI position next to Alex Morgan. She showed just how dangerous she can be today, coming directly into the match in the 87th minute and scoring her first ever Olympic goal. It also came during the last few minutes of the match when New Zealand was pressing hard to equalize, and Leroux gave her squad a nice insurance goal, earning her the TBG MVP of the match.
With the win over New Zealand, the USWNT advance to their fifth consecutive Olympic semi-final where they will take on rival Canada. Canada defeated host nation Great Britain earlier today 2-0 in something of an upset. That match will be this Monday August 6th at 2:45 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network, taking place once again at Old Trafford in Manchester. Don't expect many roster changes save for Shannon Boxx who should be back in the stating XI. As with all the USWNT matches, the Brotherly Game will have live up to the minute updates on Twitter @tBGLIVE.