USA goalie Alyssa Naeher stopped England’s Steph Houghton’s penalty kick in the second half to preserve a 2-1 lead, that helped the American ladies to victory in the World Cup semi-final match on Tuesday in Lyon, France. Team USA played without one of their top forwards in the game. Megan Rapinoe did not play due to a hamstring injury. Her replacement, Morgan Press started the scoring with a goal in the 10th minute to make it 1-0 USA. England tied the game on a goal by Ellen White. Alex Morgan scored to give the USA a 2-1 lead on her 30th birthday. She is the first woman to score a World Cup goal on her birthday.
England appeared to tie the game in the second half on another Ellen White goal. It was nullified, White was off side on the play. Team USA then got a questionable call not go their way. Ladue native Becky Sauerbrunn was called for a penalty in the box, although no contact between Sauerbrunn or Ellen White could be seen. After the penalty, Naeher stepped up with her big penalty kick save.
Team USA held on to that 2-1 lead to advance to Sunday’s World Cup championship game. They will play either the Netherlands or Sweden. Those two countries play Wednesday for a spot in the title game against the United States.