Naeher receives 100th cap, USWNT dominates Colombia

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
The USWNT advanced to the W Gold Cup semifinals.

LOS ANGELES — Alyssa Naeher received her 100th cap on Sunday and made it special. She and the USWNT dominated Colombia in the CONCACAF W Gold Cup quarterfinals, winning 3-0.

Naeher was pivotal in the match, making three saves. She was especially clutch 32 minutes into it when she saved a rocket of a shot from Linda Caicedo. 

Again, five minutes later, Naeher made a magnificent save, denying a shot by leaping to her side. 

Naeher’s excellence was paired with a complete team performance, with the team earning a shutout. Veterans like Alex Morgan and Naeher led the way, but also young stars such as Jaedyn Shaw and Jenna Nighswonger. 

“It’s very special,” Naeher said. I’ve been part of this team for a long time and have done a lot of reflecting on what it’s taken to get to this point. It means a lot to get to 100 and to do it in an important game like this. To get a huge win for the team and just see the team battle from start to finish, it is special.”

“Getting 100 caps for Alyssa [Naeher] is so special, not only for her but for all of us,” Morgan said. “She has worked so hard and has probably been on at least 200 rosters. So, to finally get that 100 caps is so important and such a milestone. It is really difficult to do as a goalkeeper. On a night like this, being able to get a three-zero win and a shutout for her, she’s been so pivotal for this team for a decade now, so I hope she relishes this moment.”

The USWNT got on the board 10 minutes into the match when Lindsey Horan intercepted a poor pass. She then played a through ball to Alex Morgan, who was fouled in the box. Horan put away the penalty kick in the bottom left corner of the net, giving the USWNT a 1-0 lead. 

Morgan and Horan’s press caused problems for Colombia, as seen by the early goal.

“Not anything too new,” Morgan said. “The nine and ten have initiated in the press. What we were looking for against Colombia was being a little more front-footed than we normally are. We were rewarded for that. So being a little more front foot, knowing their goalkeeper wasn’t super comfortable with the ball at her foot and just pressing and using those triggers to be more aggressive.”

22 minutes into the match, Nighswonger put away a finish into the bottom corner of the net to double the USWNT’s lead. 

“We’re really pleased with Jenna [Nighswonger],” said head coach Twila Kilgore. “She had some different roles and responsibilities than we have asked her in the past. The goal she scored is indicative of that.”

In stoppage time, Trinity Rodman found Shaw in the center of the box, and Shaw put it away, making the score 3-0.

The win earned the USWNT a spot in the semifinals. There, the USWNT will play Canada, a familiar foe. 

“Canada is another country that is close to us,” Kilgore said. “We have played them many times. Always a good game. We’re looking forward to that.