It began as a fascinating match of the establishment against the insurgent; the United States trying to maintain its hold as a traditional power, Colombia would try to break through to a new era of parity.
For an entire half on Monday, the aspiring Colombians held the Americans scoreless in their round-of-16 game at the Women’s World Cup, with a fearless young goalkeeper by the name of Catalina Perez.
Then recklessness and inexperience trumped assurance for Perez, who was given a red card in the 47th minute for sweeping out the legs of Alex Morgan at the edge of the penalty area.
Playing a woman down, Colombia became vulnerable, and the United States prevailed by a score of 2-0, with goals by Morgan and Carli Lloyd. The more impacting factor in the game was the defense that didn’t let the ball into the net for 33 minutes.
The United States will face China in the quarterfinals on Friday in Ottawa, for a rematch of the memorable final of the 1999 Women’s World Cup, which was won by the Americans on penalty kicks.