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Rio Olympics Women's Football: Last gasp Colombia goal holds US Women to draw

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The U.S. Women's National Team won its group for the fifth consecutive Olympic Games with a dramatic 2-2 draw with Colombia at Amazonia Arena in its final Group G match of the 2016 Olympic Games.

Already assured of advancing to the knockout rounds and needing only a point to win Group G after defeating New Zealand and France in its first two games, the USA fielded a much-changed side from its opening two games with the purpose of keeping the squad fresh in the face of the long trip to the hot and humid conditions of Manaus deep in the Brazilian Amazon.

The USA began the match on the front foot, keeping possession of the ball and generating a handful of chances at the offensive end. However, it was Colombia that took a surprise lead midway through the opening half via a Catalina Usme free kick.

Colombia was awarded a free kick 20 yards from goal toward the right side of the U.S. box and tacked a couple players on the end of the U.S. wall before the kick was taken. Catalina Usme took the kick for Colombia and curled a low, dipping shot just past her teammates in the wall, which knuckled downward in front of U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo and bounced beneath her into the back of the net.

Despite the setback, USA equalized before the break when Carli Lloyd unloaded a thunderous shot that Colombia goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda pushed onto the crossbar. The rebound fell to an unmarked Dunn in the box and the Olympic debutant made no mistake, tapping the ball into the center of the goal from close range.

The speedy attacker was also involved in the team's second goal, assisting 18-year-old Mallory Pugh, who became the youngest ever player to score an Olympic goal for the U.S. WNT when she scored the go-ahead goal in the 60th minute.

Dunn set up the USA's second goal with a blistering run down the left flank of Colombia's defense before sending a low cross through the goal mouth that arrived at the feet of Mallory Pugh on the back right post. Pugh attempted a one-time volley on goal but it hit teammate Christen Press and came right back to her, whereupon the young attacker dribbled past three defenders to the center of the box and snapped a left footed shot through a crowd of Colombia players.

Usme shocked the USA a second time in the final moments of the match, scoring a second free kick in the 90th minute that was enough to keep the U.S., which outshot Colombia 16-3 and generated a pair of breakaway chances, from collecting all three points but not enough to derail the team's ambition of winning the group.

The USA (2-0-1; 7pts) finishes atop Group G with France (2-1-0; 6pts) also advancing to the knockout stage in second place. New Zealand (1-2-0; 3pts) finished in third and along with Colombia (0-2-1; 1pts) was eliminated from the competition.

The USA now awaits the result of the day's later Group E game between Sweden and China, which will determine which of those two nations will advance alongside Australia as the best third-place teams. The U.S. will contest its quarterfinal on Friday at Mané Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia.


USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 6-Whitney Engen, 5-Kelley O'Hara; 14-Morgan Brian (3-Allie Long, 65), 9-Lindsey Horan,10-Carli Lloyd (capt.) (13-Alex Morgan, 46); 15-Megan Rapinoe (2-Mallory Pugh, 33), 12-Christen Press, 16-Crystal Dunn

Subs not used: 7-Meghan Klingenberg, 8-Julie Johnston, 17-Tobin Heath, 18-Alyssa Naeher

Head Coach: Jill Ellis

COL : 18-Sandra Sepulveda; 6-Liana Salazar, 9-Orianica Velasquez (5-Isabella Echeverri, 46), 13-Angela Clavijo, 14-Nataly Arias, 17-Carolina Arias; 3-Natalia Gaitan (capt.), 15-Tatiana Ariza (7-Ingrid Vidal, 80), 10-Leicy Santos, 11-Catalina Usme; 16-Lady Andrade (4-Diana Ospina, 62)

Subs not used: 1-Catalina Perez, 2-Carolina Arbelaez, 8-Mildrey Pineda, 12-Nicole Regnier

Head Coach: Fabian Taborda

Scoring Summary:

COL - Catalina Usme                        26th minute

USA - Crystal Dunn (Carli Lloyd)         41

USA - Mallory Pugh (Crystal Dunn)      59

COL - Cataline Usme                        90