The USA finished atop Group D with a 1-0 win over Nigeria. The USA's all-time leading scorer Abby Wambach, with her first goal of the tournament, decided the game with a volley off a corner kick late in the first half. The Americans failed to add to their lead despite Nigeria playing a woman down after Sarah Nnodim’s 69th-minute ejection, but nor did they ever give the reckless Nigerians, who received five yellows and a yellow-red, a chance to equalize. The USA returns to action in the round of 16 on Monday against a yet-to-be determined third-place finisher.
USA Player Ratings
RATING PLAYER (TEAM) GP/G
5 Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC) 173/0
The solid U.S. backline prevented Solo, who only had to grab a couple innocuous long-range shots, from breaking a sweat.
6 Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit) 69/1
Kept Esther Sunday from coming down Nigeria’s left flank and surged forward a few times, such as when she delivered a sharp low pass from the wing to Morgan for the USA’s best chance in the second half.
8 Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars) 15/3
Stifled Nigeria’s only chance by sliding to block Asisat Oshoala’s shot on a breakaway in the 24th minute. Continues to marshal the U.S. central defense with great poise.
7 Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
Partnered with Johnston to render Nigeria’s frontline speedsters ineffective, like when she chased down Desire Oparanozie in the 68th minute.
Klingenberg (Houston Dash) 37/2
The left back won her duels with Francisca Ordega and did well with the ball after she won it. She delivered the lob that Wambach headed to Johnston on the goal called back for offside -- by a hair -- in the eighth minute.
6 Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC) 105/31
Forced saves from keeper Precious Dede with two 25-yard shots in the first half. Only about half her deliveries to the frontline were accurate but sent in the corner kick that Wambach finished.
5 Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City)
With Lloyd in central midfield did much better to link backline to attack but still lacked consistency.
5 Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash) 198/63
Like Holiday had her best game of the tournament so far. But the USA needs her to deliver more smart passes like she sent to Leroux in the 69th minute.
4 Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC)
Left-sided midfielder struggled to beat foes one-on-one and coughed up the ball too often for someone who was supposed to bring more possession play to the midfield.
6 Abby Wambach (unattached) 245/183
Squandered a close-range header while unmarked on an 18th-minute corner kick but made not mistake with a jumping, left-foot volley on the sixth U.S. corner kick to give USA a 1-0 lead at stroke of halftime.
6 Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC) 87/51
Not too rusty in her first start since April (nursing a bruised knee). Her early shots were off target and Dede did well to smother her 62nd-minute chance. But she was involved in four attacks in the first five minutes of the second half -- the most sustained offensive action from the USA all game.
4 Sydney Leroux (Western NY Flash) 74/35
Replaced Morgan in the 66th minute and three minutes later drew the foul that resulted in 69th ejection of Nnodim. Two other forays ended when she fouled her marker.
NR Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars) 191/27.
Replaced Rapinoe in the 74th minute. Hit a shot far wide.
NR Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC) 307/4
Replaced Heath in the 80th minute.
(1=low; 5=average; 10=high)
June 16 in Vancouver
USA 1 Nigeria 0. Goal: Wambach 45.
USA -- Solo, Krieger, Sauerbrunn, Johnston, Klingenberg, Lloyd, Holiday, Rapinoe (Boxx 74), Heath (Rampone 80), Johnston, Wambach, Morgan (Leroux 66).
Nigeria -- Dede, Ebi, Chukwunonye, Sunday (Ayinde 50), Nwabuoku, Ordega (Nku 77), Nnodim, Ebere, Okobi, Oshoala, Dike (Oparanozie 50).
Red Card: Nigeria -- Nnodim 69.
Referee: Kateryna Monzul (Ukraine).
TRIVIA: Christie Rampone, who turns 40 on June 24, became the oldest player to appear in a Women’s World Cup when she entered the game in the 80th minute. She made the first of her 307 U.S. appearances in February 1997.