An all familiar story, almost like deja vu, as the United States Women take on Japan in the Olympic gold medal game. If we look back just a short time to the 2011 Women’s World Cup, we had a United States team that had battled Brazil, scoring the game tying goal with only seconds remaining (similar to the way they beat Canada in the Semifinal game of the 2012 Olympics). Where they would later beat Brazil in a penalty shootout to advance to the World Cup Final. Given they had to play 120 minutes of soccer the previous game, the United States knew that it was going to be a difficult task going into the final. Mentally and physically drained they would face a Japanese squad that hold great possession and takes full advantage of all their opportunities. The United States would lead on two different occasions but twice, the Japanese came back and scored. With their country behind them after a devastating natural disaster that left thousands dead, the Japanese ended up beating the United States in a penalty shootout.
Now, defeating Canada 4-3 after Alex Morgan scored the game winning goal in the 123rd minute, they face Japan in the Olympic gold medal game in a very similar situation. The United States feels they are a better team compared to the last time they faced Japan. The United States offense has been powered by a combination of youth speed and veteran power, as Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach have combined for eight goals in just five games. Wambach, has found the back of the net in every single game of the Olympics so far (second most in Olympic history). The Japanese on the other hand have only scored 6 total goals in the competition (one more than Wambach herself). However, it should be noted that they have only given up two, even shutting out powerhouse Brazil 2-0.
I think we are going to see a similar match compared to the World Cup final in 2011, but with a different final result. The United States Women’s team are hungry and they still have the taste of defeat on their lips. Even though the Japanese have a tough defense, I think our offense is too strong. With Alex Morgan having another year of experience under her and I think she is going to play a crucial role in the final. The United States are going to come out attacking and they are going to continue to attack. The Japanese are going to defend and try to attack on the counter. The question is, will the United States be able to take advantage of their opportunities and do they have the legs to go a full 90 minutes (or maybe more)?
The game is set to be played on Thursday, August 9th, at Wembley Stadium, at 2:45 pm. You can watch the match on NBC Sports Network, NBC Olympics Soccer Channel or streamed on NBC Live Extra.