Five years after a bitter, disappointing loss to Sweden from penalty kicks in the 2016 Olympic quarterfinals, the USWNT have redeemed themselves.
The U.S. defeated the Netherlands in penalty kicks after finishing regulation and overtime in a 2-2 tie. Megan Rapinoe stepped up to the penalty spot in the fourth round and buried a shot in the upper right corner to seal the victory.
The real hero of the match, however, was goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher would made two saves in the round of penalty kicks, as well as a penalty save in regulation.
The entire game was a back and forth grind for both the Americans and Dutch. Vivianne Miedema on her second touch of the game, scored the opening goal in the 18th minute.
The USWNT weren’t down long, just 10 minutes later Sam Mewis leveled the score with a diving header from a Lynn Williams service. Then two minutes later, Williams followed up her assist with a goal of her own to put the U.S. ahead 2-1 heading into the half.
Miedema scored her second goal of the match, and her 10th of the tournament, the highest tally ever for a women in the Olympics, to once again deadlock the score at 2-2.
The Dutch had an opportunity to put the game away when Kelley O’Hara conceded a penalty kick in the 81st minute, but Lieke Martens’ shot was saved by Alyssa Naeher.
The game headed into extra time where the Americans had two goals called off by VAR for being offsides. After 120 minutes of play, with no game winner, the match went to a penalty shootout where the Americans would advance to the semifinals.
Naeher saved Miedema’s opening penalty and another from Aniek Nouwen. Rose Lavelle, Alex Morgan and Christen Press scored for the U.S. before Rapinoe finished things off in typical Megan Rapinoe, emphatic fashion.
The semifinals are slated for Monday, when the U.S. women will face Canada at 4 a.m. ET. The second match of the day will pit Sweden against Australia.