For a five-minute stretch of their Olympic opener, France dominated the United States. They managed two goals in that period of time, but were poor for the rest of the match. It appeared that the USWNT were in for a stunning defeat at the hands of France early, but they stormed back and were dominant in the final 75 minutes of their 4-2 victory.
Gaetane Thiney opened the scoring with a 25-yard screamer in the 12th minute, beating Hope Solo easily. Solo should have done more to stop the shot, but didn't appear to get off her feet well to lunge towards the shot. She made up for that error with a spectacular and flawless performance throughout the rest of the match.
France went up 2-0 just two minutes later through Marie-Laure Delie, who finished from 10 yards out after a mad scramble that followed a corner kick. Shannon Boxx had to exit the game with an injury in the 17th minute as bad transitioned to disastrous for the United States, but things turned around for the team in an instant.
Abby Wambach headed in the USWNT's opener off of a Megan Rapinoe corner in the 18th minute, marking the beginning of their turnaround. Wambach set up Alex Morgan's equalizer later in the half, flicking a header into her path in the 31st minute, which Morgan turned into a goal with a well-timed volley.
France subbed off highly ineffective attacking midfielder Louisa Necib at halftime, replacing her with red-hot striker Eugenie Le Sommer. However, even though France had two athletic strikers up top and no No. 10, they didn't change their tactics much and surprisingly didn't hit very many direct balls up to their forwards. Le Sommer and Delie were largely ineffective in the second half.
The United States went ahead for good in the 56th minute, thanks to a great goal by Carli Lloyd, who replaced Boxx in the first half. France failed to close her down in the midfield, giving her too much space to unleash a shot at goal. She hit a bullet into the back of the net from 25 yards out to make the score 3-2.
Morgan closed the scoring with her second goal of the game in the 66th minute. Tobin Heath provided the set up with a great cross, following a Rapinoe through ball that released her down the left flank. Wambach lunged for Heath's low cross and couldn't redirect it into the goal, but the ball dribbled through to Morgan, who was unmarked and in the perfect spot for a far post tap-in.
Over her last 18 games, Morgan has scored an incredible 19 goals. She was fantastic on Wednesday, but Rapinoe was arguably the best player on the pitch. Her passing and set pieces were spectacular throughout the match and were instrumental in all of the United States' best chances.
Matt Ufford breaks down the USWNT win, and looks ahead the Americans next two group play matches: