Rodriguez and Team USA Bound For Olympic Semis

Aug. 15, 2008

USC's Amy Rodriguez has taken a giant leap to within reach of an Olympic medal with Team USA, as the U.S. women's soccer team has advanced to the semifinals of the Olympic Games in Beijing. Rodriguez has started the past three games - all United States wins - and has been a dominant factor in the U.S. attack. The Trojan senior notched her first goal of the Games in the USA's 4-0 win over New Zealand, which was key in securing the top position for the United States in its group. In the quarterfinals, Rodriguez set up both goals for the United States in a rainy and lengthy 2-1 win in extra time.

Rodriguez's undeniable spark on the front lines got her the starting nod for Team USA after the United States opened Olympic competition with a surprising 2-0 loss to Norway. She was subbed in for the second half of that match, and has since been a mainstay in the starting lineup. The United States bounced back and tallied a 1-0 win over Japan in its next game, with Rodriguez getting her first Olympic start and chewing up the Japanese defense with dangerous runs. In a crucial third match against New Zealand to wrap up group play, Rodriguez was again a starter, and her first Olympic goal came during the first half, an insulation goal that lifted the United States ahead 2-0 en route to an eventual 4-0 victory.

Yesterday in Beijing, elimination games began as the United States came up against Canada in the quarterfinals. It was Rodriguez's cross midway through the first half - before a lightning delay suspended play for over an hour - that set up the United States' first goal. Her speed and distribution skills continued to cause trouble for the Canadians, although it wasn't until the first period of extra time that Team USA was able to answer a tying Canadian goal that had come in the first half of regulation. Rodriguez dropped a pass back from the left wing to set up a cross for Natasha Kai, whose header proved the game-winner to send the United States into the semifinals.

Keep an eye on Amy and Team USA as they pursue a place in the gold medal game. The United States will face a rematch with Japan in the semifinals, slated for Monday (Aug. 18) at 6 a.m. PT. Playing in the other semifinal in Beijing are Brazil and Germany. The gold medal game will be played on August 21 at 6 a.m. PT, preceded by the bronze medal match at 3 a.m. PT.

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