June 12, 2024

First-half goals from Lindsey Horan, Jenna Nighswonger and Jaedyn Shaw carried the women’s national team to a 3-0 win over Colombia on Sunday in a physical CONCACAF W Gold Cup quarterfinal before a crowd of 16,746 at BMO Stadium.

With the win, the U.S. advances to Wednesday’s Gold Cup semifinals in San Diego, where the Americans will face Canada, the reigning Olympic champion. Canada beat Costa Rica 1-0 in its quarterfinal Saturday on Evelyne Viens’ goal in extra time.

Mexico, a 3-2 winner over Paraguay in Sunday’s other quarterfinal, will play Brazil in its semifinal Wednesday. The Seleção advanced with a 5-1 rout of Argentina on Saturday.

The U.S. opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Horan slotted her penalty kick into the lower right-hand corner. Horan set up the penalty when her pass carried Alex Morgan deep into the box, where she was tripped by Colombia’s Jorelyn Carabali. After clutching the ball as she stood on the spot, Morgan then decided to give the shot to Horan, who scored for the second time in the tournament.

The U.S. doubled the lead nine minutes later when a long cross into the box deflected off a Colombian defender and into the path of Nighswonger, whose one-timer from the left wing kissed the far post and caromed into the goal for her second score of the Gold Cup.

Shaw made it 3-0 in first-half stoppage time, sliding on to a low cross from Trinity Rodman and redirecting it in from the center of the box. And it could have been worse, with Horan clanging a free kick off the post just before the halftime whistle.

U.S. defender Jenna Nighswonger (3) shoots and scores past Colombia defender Carolina Arias.

U.S. defender Jenna Nighswonger (3) shoots and scores past Colombia defender Carolina Arias during the first half Sunday.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

In Sunday’s first quarterfinal, Mexico extended its unbeaten streak under coach Pedro López to 23 games behind two scores from Lizbeth Ovalle — one in each half — another from Karen Luna and a strong performance in goal from Esthefanny Barreras.

Mexico also ran its shutout streak to 775 minutes before conceding, with Barreras making a sprawling save on Pirayú Martínez’s penalty kick early in the second half, then laying out to smother another try off the rebound. She also got help from teammates Greta Espinoza and Rebeca Bernal, who made splendid saves off the line following a corner kick moments later.

Second-half substitute Camila Barbosa finally broke the spell in the 64th minute, deflecting a shot in off a corner for Paraguay to cut Mexico’s lead to 2-1.

After Ovalle’s second score in the 69th minute, Rebeca Fernández, whose goal in October’s Pan American Games was the last Mexico had allowed before Sunday, came off the bench to cut the deficit to a goal three minutes later. But Paraguay got no closer.

Ovalle has five goals in the tournament, tying her with Canada’s Adriana Leon for the tournament lead.

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