[USA-NEW ZEALAND]The USA moved into the semifinals of the Olympic women's soccer competition after a tougher-than-expected win over New Zealand that featured a violent collision between U.S. star Alex Morgan and New Zealand goalkeeper Jenny Bindon. Morgan later left the game won by the Americans, 2-0, with what was termed a charley horse, but she "will be fine" for Monday's semifinal with Concacaf rival Canada, according to U.S. coach Pia Sundhage.
Morgan's knee hit Bindon in the head as the U.S. star broke in alone on the New Zealand keeper late in the second half. Amazingly, no foul was called for the violent collision.
Bindon stayed in the game but was suffering from an apparent concussion.
"She said she can't remember much of the game," New Zealand coach Tony Readings. "Maybe she's blocking it out. I'm not sure."
REACTION.The close score was not a surprise, considering New Zealand led the USA late in their friendly earlier this year before falling, 2-1, on a pair of late Morgan goals. "It's a winning team, so they've been living with the pressure," said Sundhage. "I just look at the team and it feels like they perform under pressure. They like the pressure. The harder it is, the more you get out of the team."
CROWD WATCH.The game at Newcastle's St. James' Park drew a crowd of only 10,441 fans, the lowest for the USA's four matches. The other matches were played as part of doubleheaders.
TRIVIA.The win kept the USA's streak alive of having qualified for the semifinals of every world championship it has entered: five Olympics and six Women's World Cups.
Aug. 3 in Newcastle
USA 2 New Zealand 0.Goals: Wambach 27, Leroux 87.
USA --Solo; LePeilbet, Rampone, Buehler, O'Hara; Rapinoe (O'Reilly, 71), Lloyd, Cheney (Rodriguez, 90+1), Heath; Morgan (Leroux, 80), Wambach.
New Zealand --Bindon; Percival, Erceg, Smith, Riley; Hoyle (Longo, 90+4), Yallop (Moorwood, 57), Hassett, Gregorius; Hearn, Wilkinson (White, 77).
Referee: Jesica Di Iorio (Argentina).