ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – In the second round of friendlies between USWNT and Colombia, the United States got off to a frenetic start from the very first touch of the game. Within minutes, Ali Krieger was able to find a pass into the young prospect Catarina Macario, who slotted in her debut goal for the national team.
The former Top Drawer “Freshman of the Year” wasted little time making her presence known amongst the elite USWNT squad. After her debut last game — where she made history by becoming the first naturalized citizen to play for the U.S. Women’s Senior team — the future is looking brighter than ever for the Brazilian-American prospect who recently put pen to paper on a move to Lyon this month.
These next couple of games will be crucial for the USWNT as they lock in their final roster for Olympic preparations. The Mewis sisters made quite the splash in their last outing against Colombia, but Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski opted for a different look in midfield during Friday’s game that saw Macario, Rapinoe and Williams lead the attacking three.
Despite the chippiness and high level of fouls from the first game, referee Danielle Chesky did well to manage the challenges and unintentional impacts in the first half. Daniela Montoya suffered the first yellow card of the night after a tough challenge in Colombia’s defensive third. In the 42nd minute, Daniela Arias (3) committed another crucial foul against USWNT that saw Colombia gift away their third goal of the evening.
The lapses in communication and lack of speed became the most detrimental aspects of Colombia’s night. No matter what tactic they employed, they were always two steps behind and a few players down in supply whenever they had brief glimpses of hope to push forward and attack.
Even with the early goal conceded, Colombia managed to put on a brave face during a nice stretch in the first half that saw them withstand a barrage of attacking challenges from the U.S. Women’s side. However, Rapinoe quickly turned the page for another goal in the 35th minute after her shot got a beneficial deflection off Colombia’s defensive line. She would go on to finish the second half with a brace after an opportune penalty kick.
The game continued like business as usual for the American women as Samantha Mewis came on as a substitute to deliver a sumptuous cross into space for Lynn Williams’ header. Shortly after, Samantha Mewis was on the receiving end of a cross that bounced off the bottom left crossbar as the momentum of the ball went against her.
With more experience against their opponent, the attacking press for the U.S. Women’s team was too much to overcome for Colombia’s lesser-spaced schemes. No matter the result for Colombia’s federation, the lessons learned in this doubleheader against USWNT will hopefully give them a more accurate barometer of how to measure up against the top-level senior national sides.
Megan Rapinoe gleamed with delight when asked about the emergence of youth within the USWNT, a factor that hasn’t been historically present in the great U.S. Women’s teams of the past. Rapinoe was seen providing assistance to Macario and warming up alongside her for a majority of the round-robin against Colombia. Rapinoe remarked that the youth is a fortifying factor in their play, but the quality is nothing to scoff at either:
“Obviously Cat, you’ve seen her in college … and what she showed us tonight and what she’s showing us in training is unbelievable. I’m not sure we’ve had a striker that plays like her. She comes back, gets on the ball, obviously very creative, kinda like a false nine. I’m looking forward to getting to know her game.”
Receiving the backing of a World Cup-winning legend on your team will be hugely beneficial to Macario’s development as one of the next rising stars of the USWNT. With a goal in her debut, she’s off to a wonderful start.
Nicolas Vera is a contributing writer for Florida National News. | email@example.com