This was no Thailand.
The Netherlands, ranked No. 12 in the world, is considered a rising power in Europe, and on Sunday, the team showed why. The Dutch are fast, strong, energetic, and fearless. Their new coach, Arjan van der Laan, didn’t hesitate to challenge the Americans. (No bus-parker is he.) His team came out pressuring high and kept it up even after grabbing an early 1-0 lead on a breakaway by Shanice van de Sanden, who blew past the U.S. backline with uncommon ease:
Through the first half, the Orange went toe to toe, shoulder to shoulder with Team USA. The Dutch players chased loose balls and tackled assertively, especially once they figured out, as American bodies went sprawling, that the referee was disinclined to blow her whistle, much less retrieve the yellow card.
As a result, the United States trailed for 33 of the first 45 minutes — nearly unheard of for this team — until Carli Lloyd equalized:
The second half was a different story.
An own goal by Dutch captain Mandy van den Berg — assisted by Tobin Heath, who may or may not have shoved van den Berg into the path of the ball — gave the Americans the lead:
The U.S. defense tightened down, and the U.S. attack — fortified by second-half substitutes Crystal Dunn, Christen Press, and Megan Rapinoe — simply wore the Dutch down.
Next on Team USA’s schedule: back-to-backs against Switzerland on Oct. 19 in Sandy, Utah, and Oct. 23 in Minneapolis.
Here are five oddities, curiosities, or (possibly) interesting facts about the Netherlands game and its participants:
The first time these teams met was on May 27, 1991, in the Dutch city of Vianen. The Netherlands won 4-3. Since then, the Americans have won six straight.
Hope Solo’s two backups, Alyssa Naeher and Ashlyn Harris, have a combined career total of 17 caps. (Naeher earned her eighth against the Netherlands, Harris her ninth last week against Thailand.)
Before her suspension, Solo had 16 caps in 2016 alone.
Despite being bounced from the Rio Olympics by Sweden, the U.S. women technically remain undefeated in 2016.
That’s because they fell to the Swedes on penalty kicks. In soccer, a game that ends with the score tied after 90 minutes of regulation time and two 15-minute extra periods goes into the record books as a draw. In some cases, notably, the knockout rounds of a tournament, someone has to be declared the victor — thus, the PKs.
But officially, it’s a draw, and Team USA’s record for the year is 18W-0L-3D.
In those 21 games, the United States has outscored opponents 70-8.
Three players account for 60 percent of the team’s goals in 2016. Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd have 15 apiece, and Crystal Dunn has 12.