[USA-FRANCE REPORT CARD] The USA was badly outplayed by France in midfield for much of their Women's World Cup semifinal but several players came up with big
plays to move the USA into Sunday's final against Japan. Soccer America's Paul Kennedy grades the U.S. players ...
6 Hope Solo (magicJack) 100/-
Said she wasn't at the top her game but exuded confidence -- in sharp contrast to the shaky performance by French counterpart Berangere Sapowicz. Biggest save came early in the first half on Gaetane Thiney. Frozen with Thiney standing in six-yard box on Sonia Bompastor's cross that went into goal on one bounce.
6 Ali Krieger (FFC Frankfurt/GER) 22/0
Another solid game from Krieger, who will return to Frankfurt, where she has played her club ball, for the final. Fouled Bompastor clumsily to concede free kick that resulted in Bompastor's shot off bar. Knocked Louisa Necib off the ball to make key stop at the start of the second half. Bothered by ankle injury but stayed in the game.
7 Christie Rampone (Philadelphia Independence) 239/4
Captain again marshaled the backline that bent but was only broken on a fluke goal. French had a huge edge in shots -- 25-11 -- but most of their shots were long-distance efforts that didn't trouble Solo. Came forward to lift cross to far post that Wambach failed to put on frame. Intercepted ball that started buildup on third U.S. goal.
6 Becky Sauerbrunn (magicJack)
Only playing because Rachel Buehler was suspended. Sauerbrunn had a very good game, particularly in the first half when she marked Marie-Laure Delie out of the match.
5 Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers) 52/0
Considered the weak link of the U.S. backline but was not exposed. Involved in buildup on first U.S. goal.
7 Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers) 45/15
Redirected O'Reilly's cross for first goal, stabbing at ball to the near post. Lifted corner kick to far post, where Wambach headed home the winner. Settled midfield after shifting inside when Rapinoe came on for Lloyd.
5 Shannon Boxx (magicJack) 149/22
Forced to organize U.S. midfield badly outnumbered and outplayed for much of the game. Aimless pass straight to Frenchwoman started sequence that led to tying goal.
5 Carli Lloyd (Atlanta Beat) 113/28
Deft backheel triggered O'Reilly on play that led to first U.S. goal. Stepped up to stop several dangerous France attacks in first half. But struggled in the second half and went off in the 65th minute.
5 Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC) 146/30
Made patented run down left wing to beat Laura Georges and find Cheney for opening goal in the 9th minute. But couldn't get very involved in game after that until she earned corner Wambach put away for the winning goal.
7 Abby Wambach (magicJack) 161/121
Inevitably, produced the winner with a header at the far post off Cheney's corner kick. Should have done better on ball from Rampone in the first half. Involved in buildup on Morgan's goal as well with header to Rapinoe.
3 Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence) 69/17
Another poor game from Rodriguez, who rarely saw the ball and again went off early in the second half for Morgan.
7 Megan Rapinoe (Philadelphia Independence) 34/11
Changed the dimension of the game when she came on the 65th minute. Almost scored on free kick shortly after coming into the game. Cut out French defense with pass Morgan put away for third goal.
7 Alex Morgan (Western New York Flash) 22/8
Finally showed at the Women's World Cup why she is so dangerous as a sub. Scored with a clinical finish after being put through by Rapinoe. Should have added a second goal a few minutes later.
NR Tobin Heath (Boston Breakers) 30/2
Came on as late sub for fellow New Jersey and UNC product Heather O'Reilly.
(1-low; 5=average; 10=high.)