United States women draw with Colombia as Morgan misses penalty

Alex Morgan missed a penalty at the end of the first half and the United States settled for a scoreless draw with Colombia in a friendly in Sandy, Utah, on Thursday night.

Morgan's attempt in the 44th minute bounced back off the post and she tried to score off the rebound, but the ball sailed over the goal.

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The game, played in chilly temperatures in the mid-30s, was the first of two matches against Colombia. The second is set for Sunday in San Diego.

The United States will play just two more games this year, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Frisco, Texas, in early December. Both matches are against China.

Colombia, ranked No. 22 in the world, advanced to the quarterfinals at the Women's World Cup this past summer for the first time. Las Cafeteras were finally stopped by England 2-1.

Alex Morgan reacts after missing a penalty kick for the U.S. against Colombia.
Alex Morgan reacts after missing a penalty kick for the U.S. against Colombia.
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The United States was eliminated in the Round of 16 on penalties after a scoreless draw with Sweden, the earliest World Cup exit ever for the Americans. Soon after the disappointing finish, coach Vlatko Andonovski stepped down.

Since then, the Americans have been led by interim coach Twila Kilgore, who was an assistant under Andonovski. The United States, ranked No. 3, is expected to name a permanent head coach by the end of the year as the team prepares for the Paris Olympics next summer.

"I trust Alex Morgan to take penalties and she's not going to be satisfied with that," Kilgore said after the match about the miss. "We're not satisfied with that, but I trust quite a few of our players in these moments and when they're called upon, they will do their best.

"And sometimes you make them and sometimes you miss them. The expectation is that they do execute, but I trust Alex."

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The game marked the return of defender Becky Sauerbrunn to the team after she missed the World Cup because of an injury. She started on the bench, but came in at the start of the second half.

Sophia Smith was a late substitute. The reigning U.S. Soccer Player of the Year had not played for the United States since the World Cup because of a knee injury and was on limited minutes.

Smith came close to a goal in the final moments of stoppage time, but Colombia goalkeeper Natalia Girlaldo made the stop.

Colombia, which has also qualified for the Olympics, had not played since the World Cup. Linda Caicedo, the team's 18-year-old forward who plays professionally for Real Mardrid, started against the Americans. Catalina Usme, who scored two goals during the World Cup, was unavailable because of an injury.

The Colombians were playing the two friendlies under Angela Marsiglia, their new head coach after the post-World Cup departure of Nelson Abadía.