The Dutch women’s national team headed into Thursday’s World Cup match with the U.S. riding a 32-year winless streak against the Americans. Only one player on the team was even alive in 1991, when the Netherlands beat the U.S. for the only time.
Yet coach Andries Jonker insisted his players weren’t intimidated.
“We are not afraid of the USA,” Jonker said.
For more than an hour that confidence was rewarded but the Dutch couldn’t close the deal, with U.S. captain Lindsey Horan‘s second-half header salvaging a 1-1 draw that leaves the U.S. atop the group on goal differential with one game remaining.
The U.S. finish pool play next week against Portugal while the Dutch, needing to make up a two-goal differential, face Vietnam.
The U.S. hadn’t trailed a World Cup game since 2011, which was also the last time they lost in this tournament. But Jill Roord’s goal early in the first half gave the Dutch a lead they protected for 45 minutes. Horan got the equalizer in the 62nd minute, heading in the Americans’ seventh corner of the afternoon. And significantly the goal came just seconds after Japanese referee Yoshimi Yamashita briefly paused the match for a discussion with Horan and Dutch midfielder Danielle van de Donk.
Horan thought Van de Donk had gotten away with a dirty play when she wiped Horan out with a cross-body block on the touchline. When play resumed for the corner, Horan ran away from the mark of Van de Donk and nodded the ball in at the near post.
Alex Morgan scored five minutes later, appearing to put the U.S. ahead, but Trinity Rodman had held on to her through ball for a beat too long and Morgan wound up taking the ball in an offside position, negating the goal. Rodman also had a shot at a game-winner in the 82nd minute, breaking in alone on Dutch keeper Daphne van Domselaar, but her try missed wide of the far post.
After watching the Dutch’s heavy midfielder control the game in the first half, U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski sent in midfielder Rose Lavelle to start the second half and that changed the game. Not only did Lavelle wake up the slumbering U.S. attack, but also it was her corner that led to Horan’s tying goal.
The game was a replay of the 2019 World Cup final, won by the U.S. 2-0. The teams also met in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics, playing to a draw before the Dutch were eliminated on penalty kicks. Both sides came in the rematch missing key pieces to injuries. The U.S. was without captain Becky Sauerbrunn, who was left off the roster with a foot injury, while the Netherlands came to New Zealand without Vivianne Miedema, the team’s all-time leading scorer, and played Wednesday without forward Lineth Beerensteyn, who was injured in the first game.
That factored into the result more than the chilly conditions, although the wind did beat down some goal kicks, forcing keepers to keep the ball low. Wellington, the world’s southernmost capital city, is also the world’s windiest city, by average wind speed, hence its nickname, Windy Welly. And Wellington Regional Stadium, known colloquially as “the Cake Tin,” a 34,000-seat bull ring of a venue built on unclaimed railroad land next to the city’s harbor, holds that wind well.
Roord warmed the Dutch fans in the 17th minute, lining a low shot inside the left post for the lead. The score came after Crystal Dunn’s half-clearance of a Victoria Pelova cross deep in the penalty area caromed back to Pelova, who teed up Roord at the top of the box for the score.
That marked the first time the Americans trailed a World Cup game since extra time of their 2011 quarterfinal draw with Brazil. Rodman nearly erased the deficit seconds later, but her looping shot from distance was tipped over the bar by Van Domselaar.