[USA-NEW ZEALAND REPORT CARD]For the second straight game, the U.S. women had to nurse a one-goal lead for a long period, though this time they did manage a second goal late to come away with a 2-0 Olympic quarterfinal triumph over New Zealand. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players ...
6 Hope Solo (Seattle Sounders Women) 122/0.
She wasn't troubled on the shots she saved, since they came without much power from distance. She commanded her area well and smothered the balls she got to, and zipped her usually array of outlet throws accurately.
6 Amy LePeilbet (no club) 73/0.
Very active on the right flank, either pressing opponents, helping out on double-teams, or getting up the wing to join attacks. She also prevailed in a few back-post heading duels in which the ball had to be won.
6 Rachel Buehler (no club) 86/3.
Wary of being outrun by faster opponents, she held her position and allowed shots from distance. She thwarted a few threatening dribbles with solid tackles and occasionally surprised the Kiwis by stepping up quickly to cut off a pass rather than dropping back.
7 Christie Rampone (no club) 264/4.
The captain marshaled a defensive effort that seldom yielded a clean shot to New Zealand. She usually won the balls she stepped to and simply overpowered her opponents on balls in the air. Distributed the ball well though fewer long balls would have been warranted.
6 Kelley O'Hara (no club) 23/0.
Her long ball out of the back in the opening minutes produced a defensive miscue and a squandered scoring opportunity. She tackled strongly and kept her corner secure to shut off New Zealand's attempts to provide service from the flanks.
5 Carli Lloyd (no club) 139/38.
Reliable in the tackle but caught short on combinations that produced shots from distance. On the other hand, she didn't let attackers sneak in behind her to get closer looks at goal. Fluffed a good shooting opportunity with an uncharacteristic poor hit.
4 Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Sounders) 56/13.
Came up with a lackluster showing during the run of play for a second straight game, though the effort deserved more reward. Set plays were hit and miss but one perfect corner kick to Wambach was wasted.
5 Lauren Cheney (no club) 71/18.
She used her touches well to keep attacks flowing, and played several effective balls out wide. She got in a lot of tackles to disrupt New Zealand, but wasn't always quick enough to put pressure on Kiwis when they shot from distance. She is quietly but effectively having a very good tournament.
5 Tobin Heath (New York Fury) 49/6.
Played a fluid and active game, veering in from the flanks to use space in the middle but also showing some savvy about when to play balls up the line. She sent Leroux clear on just such a ball that turned into the second goal. She worked hard defensively but took a few bad angles and overran situations that gave New Zealand openings.
6 Abby Wambach (no club) 186/142.
She scored in her fourth straight game at the Olympics with a simple finish, and could have scored again with a header off a corner kick but the shot went wide. By drawing defenders, winning headers, and knocking balls to teammates she opened up space and contributed another laudable performance.
6 Alex Morgan (Seattle Sounders Women) 46/29.
Dragged a shot wide in the early minutes and on two other opportunities she poked a weak shot on frame and sent another into the side netting. She chased down a through ball and nicked it round the goalkeeper but stumbled over her opponent and was unable to recover possession. Her pressure and energy caused several turnovers, and with a world-class moment she set up the first USA goal for Wambach with a slick move and precise pass.
4 Heather O'Reilly (Boston Breakers) 169/34.
Buzzed up the right flank to get into good spots, but twice lost shooting opportunities when the ball escaped her when she cut inside.
6 Sydney Leroux (Seattle Sounders Women) 18/8.
Scorched New Zealand with two scything runs up the left wing, the second of which she turned into the clinching goal with a shot underneath the keeper.
NR Amy Rodriguez (no club) 93/25.
Reprised her role as a late sub.
(1=low; 5=average; 10=high.)