Classy USA secure place in the World Cup final

December 9, 2017


USA marched their way to the World Cup final after another great attacking display seen them past Australia.


Ronaldo Michel-Reyes and Kevin Estrada gave the USA a two goal lead at half-time. Robert Michel added to the lead in the second period before Zac Mohring's deflected effort gave the Aussies hope. However they couldn't muster up a comeback.


It was a fast start from both teams in a breathless first two or three minutes.  In fact Kevin Estrada had two early efforts saved for the USA, one from a break were captain Angel Iniquez played a ball through the middle but Brad Mitchell in the Australian goal saved. Iniquez then provided Estrada with space on the right to fire a ball off the crossbar.


After those early US chances and despite the frantic tempo there wasn't too many clear cut chances for either side. Ryan Merriman for the Aussies fired a long drive that was blocked away while Ronaldo Michel and Kevin Estrada had further US efforts which were off target.  John McKenna did find space centrally for a long range strike for Australia which stung the hands of USA keeper Mateo Pena-Sanchez.


Ronaldo Michel-Reyes would have a further couple of quick efforts, one from a Estrada corner which a dummy from Devin Brown led to a fizzer on the left side which was dealt with by Mitchell in goal. Moments later Daniel Tremillo Cazares picked out Michel-Reyes for another try on the right side but again dealt with.


The Australian chances were more of a premium but Jay Pinches on the right did pick out Nathan Price but his shot was straight at the keeper.

Michel-Reyes had another chance for the USA when he picked up on the right and full blooded shot was diverted away by Mitchell. However on the 10 minute mark it was Michel-Reyes and the USA who would strike first.

After Pinches nudged out that said player, he stepped up centrally to fire the resulting free-kick low into the right side of the goal. 1-0 USA.


Michel-Reyes continued to have a shoot-on-site policy, peppering the goal while the Australians had a couple of tame efforts from Zac Mohring and Jaye Pinches.

Another clinical moment would come for the USA when Robert Michel burst away from the back, and was given time to roam and pick out Kevin Estrada on the right to slot home for a second.


As the first half was heading for its conclusion the chances fizzled out, although Merriman for Australia rattled one from distance but was held by Pena-Sanchez.

HALF TIME: USA 2-0 Australia


It would be a big hammer blow to the Australians as in the first few minutes of the second half the USA found a killer third goal. Devin Brown, who had a quieter game than in the recent games, did so well to work himself forward in space to then play a ball that split the two defenders for Robert Michel to score via the right post and nestle in the opposite corner. 3-0 and a big job for Australia to come back.

Michel not long after had a speculative try that whistled by the Australian goal. However hope would come for the side trailing. They had a free kick on the edge of the box which Zac Mohring and Alex Robinson combined but it deflected off the wall, however it came back to Mohring from further out to take a try which deflected in off a defender to give them a squeak of a chance.

The goal sparked life back into the Australian supporters and in truth it probably helped the Aussies finish the better. However with them chasing there were gaps at the back. Angel Iniquez picked up and broke for Devin Brown who tried to dance around the recovering defenders but the low close range shot was palmed away. Again moments later a break from Kevin Estrada seen him motor down the right but Iniquez from close out couldn't quite get the shot he wanted and his effort was taken easy in the Australia goal.


The game returned to a state of frenzy, similar to how it began with formations almost going out the window. Australia seemed to rush a little as the clock started to tick down. Nathan Price had an effort on the edge of the box which went through the goalkeepers legs but was cleared just in time off the line.

In truth - Australia didn't quite have enough clear cut chances to get themselves further back into the game and in the end USA celebrated as the final hooter went as they deserved to progress to the final.


FULL TIME: USA 3-1 Australia


USA Player of the Match: Mateo Pena-Sanchez - Although winning 3-1, and would have had a clean sheet if it wasn't for a deflection. Had some fantastic saves.


Australia Player of the Match: Matt Tindale came on and kept his side in the match. A great performance from the number one.


USA Magic Moment: Ronaldo Michel rocket for a low driven free kick to open the scoring.


Australia Magic Moment: Matt Tindle came on late in the game and had a few snap saves to make in goal. The rotation policy the Aussies use here has been good to both keepers but in pressure moment were conceding another was not an option he ensured the USA didn't add to their tally.

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