USA 1 vs. 3 Ireland
6.00 push back
So, the Spanish journalist sat next to me thinks that this will be a draw and so far he could be right in this game with USA and Ireland. The first few minutes sees the two teams taking turns to attack each other. In the fourth minute, the Irish strike gold. A long pass from Roisin Upton, inside the Irish half finds Deirdre Duke, who rounds the keeper and scores from close range. The Spanish journalist calls it a beautiful pass. Soon after an American attack into the left of the Irish area forcing a sliding save from the Irish keeper, Ayeisha McFerran.
The two teams are really going at each other, with very little organised transitioning from the midfield players of either team. It is almost like two middle weight boxers taking turns in jabbing at each other. This could be the most open game of the day so far.
Ireland’s Alison Meeke takes a rough challenge on the right wing, gets up and takes a quick free hit, but runs into traffic. I have a sense that this might be a theme of this a match. Number 15, Gillian Pinder cuts out a pass from the USA backs. Drives forward, weaves into the ‘D’ to the right of the goal and is obviously fouled. The short corner injection is sent to the second castle. Shirley McCay sweeps past USA keeper Jackie Briggs right, who planks but can’t keep out the shot. Goal! Eleven minutes played and the Irish are leading two goals to zero.
The USA attack down the right wing and move into the ‘D’. A foul is committed and penalty corner given. 48 seconds remain. The injection is made to the right hand castle, a feinted shot, slip to the right post and tapped in by Margaux Paolino. Ireland 2 – 1 USA and we might have a game now.
Into the second quarter now and the USA lose another ball, with a pass to the centre of midfield, from right back. The Irish attack and with a second phase shot in the ‘D’, the American number 20, Ali Froede, takes one right in the head. A pattern is emerging with the Americans giving away passes from the back. The Irish are applying a high press and it seems to be working for them.
The best move of the USA game so far starts with captain Melissa Gonzalez as she squarest ball from right centre. The ball is sent to the left wing, then centred and a short corner given for a high ball, as the Irish try to defend it.
The USA hit the post from a second phase play from the corner, the attacker is then wiped out and are given a long. The Americans are retaining the ball for the longest period of their game and are concentrating in the high right corner. And with a minute to go, the Irish are starting to feel a bit of pressure. USA number 9, Tara Vittese, receives the ball from her defence, turns and from central midfield sends a long ball into the attacking top quarter. Unfortunately, nothing comes of this as the halftime hooter goes, but that is a lot better from the Yankees.
Ireland start the second half brightly and get a short corner within 2 minutes. A feint shot and slip to the left, results in a bit of a scramble and a shot that fizzles just wide. The Irish try to keep the USA in the quarter, but the Americans counter, getting into the Irish ‘D’ themselves.
The US team are carrying on their form the end of the second quarter. Erin Matson, Nicole Woods and Tara Vittese combine well down the left, and things are perhaps looking promising here, with Caitlin van Sickle getting a shot off in 7th minute of the quater. The game is still lively, though, with the Irish given as good as they get.
In the ninth minute Caitlin van Sickle is shown a yellow card. There has been a few cards in this game so far and there’s a risk of things turning gritty. A minute into this power play the USA manage to get a short corner. They miss, the Irish counter down the right hand side, centre the ball towards the goal. Deirdre Duke, takes a touch to go past the American defender and slots it into the bottom left corner for her second goal of the game. The Irish fans go wild, as they see their side take a 3-1 lead.
The USA look to get back into the game and with 3 and a half minutes of the quarter left, manage to get a short corner. Spilt by Gonzalez at the top of the ‘D’, but recovers the ball and plays it forward again. It becomes scrappy and Ireland win a free hit. The American defence still looks shaky and Deirdre Duke finds her self in space again from a sideline ball deep in the corner of the Irish defensive quarter. They then keep the ball in the American end for the remaining few seconds of the third period.
The players begin the final 15 minutes of the match. There seems to be a lot of space in the middle two quarters of the pitch, especially in the wide areas and this is allowing for a lot of attacking play. Duke nearly adds a third to her tally in the fifth minute, as she drives into the area, but hooks the ball just wide of the right hand post. Three minute we see a fierce shot from Caitlin van Sickle forcing a strong left hand paw from the Irish keeper, who’s defence generally looking compact now. As the game comes to an end, the Irish start to sit deeper and deeper and the USA start to get desperate and force the ball, resulting in turnovers. The game ends Ireland 3 USA 1.