Here we go, here we go.
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 17-Lori Chalupny, 15-Kate Markgraf, 2-Heather Mitts, 3-Christie Rampone-Capt.; 7-Shannon Boxx, 11-Carli Lloyd, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 5-Lindsay Tarpley; 16-Angela Hucles, 8-Amy Rodriguez
Japan: 1-Miho Fukumoto; 2-Yukari Kinga, 3-Hiromi Ikeda, 4-Azusa Iwashimizu, 7-Kozue Ando; 14-Kyoko Yano, 8-Aya Miyama, 10-Homare Sawa, 15-Mizuho Sakaguchi, 11-Shinobu Ohno, 17-Yuki Nagasato.
1 - Japan is moving the ball well from the start - the U.S. is chasing a bit, scrambling on defense.
4 - The U.S. is barely getting much of the ball. Miyama crosses! Ooh, a miss on a shot right in front of goal. Japan should have had a great shot on goal right there.
6 - Lloyd takes a shot after the FK gets touched to her - it's on goal, but Fukumoto handles it well.
7 - O'Rielly in the box! The bounce is high and she can't really shoot, so she goes down in a heap as Fukumoto grabs the ball.
9 - Japan gets another corner. The U.S. clear and get a counter going, but O'Reilly is taken off the ball trying to dribble past a defender.
11 - Tarp also taken off the ball. So far, Japan's defense has blunted the U.S. speed advantage.
12 - Mitts long ball to Lloyd, but the Japanese cut off the ensuing cross into the box. Still, the U.S. getting more of the ball.
13 - ARod, lays off a close ball in the box to Chalups, whose shot is rather poor, wide.
14 - After Japan had the early momentum, the U.S. has hung in.
16 - GOAL! It looked offside, but Tarp had stayed back, keeping Ohno on, and the little pass to her in front of goal left her with an easy finish. 1-0 Japan.
18 - Unlike Japan, the U.S. has not come back from behind once this tournament. They've been ahead every match they've won. When they trailed, they lost to Norway, 2-0.
22 - Ohno with a shot! Solo dives to make the save. She gets there, but Ohno is on fire with confidence.
24 - Japan possessing the ball well. They're taking their time, moving the ball around. They force the U.S. to chase and keep the Americans from getting any rhythm. Smart.
27- U.S. cross into the box cut off by Fukumoto.
28 - ARod into the box with speed - looks like she's going to get a corner on the deflection, but Japan catches up to the ball.
29 - Chalupny fouls Sawa, but it's a ways from goal. FK is too far for Nagasoto.
31 - I wonder if Sundhage wishes the U.S. could play Japan's possession game.
33 - Poor pass over the top by the U.S. They seem to have run out of ideas early. Perhaps the Canada game and the long delay took a toll. Usually the U.S. has an advantage athletically. They might not there if their legs are heavy.
35 - It does seem at times that Chastain is talking more than the play-by-play, which doesn't add to the game, really. Over-analysis.
37 - Playing in the rain also probably wore on the U.S. players. The Canada match was a grind-it-out affair, and perhaps it's not surprising that the U.S. looks flat.
39 - ARod isn't holding the ball well when she drops into the midfield.
40 - O'Reilly late on a tackle - gets yellow.
41 - GOAL! Then O'Reilly gets the assist! She makes the run, beats her defender on the wing, crosses the ball in. ARod misses the chance, Tarp dummies or gets confused, but the ball goes past her and Hucles is perfectly positioned for the easy putaway. 1-1
43 - I completely agree with Chastain - Hucles had a great, simple finish. "The little pass to the net", as the Brazilians say. None of her goals have really been impressive this tournament, but she has gotten the job done.
44 - GOAL! Chalupny! The defender makes the run, as her U.S. teammates have been threatening since their goal, and she cuts into the box with the ball, then rockers a laser into the roof of the net. Now that was a pretty, pretty goal. 2-1 U.S.
Halftime - Well, the U.S. has to feel good about the last five minutes of that half, while the Japanese are reeling. However, Japan has been down before and crawled back almost every time. Only against China did Japan lead the whole way. Of course, only against the U.S. did Japan fail to rally.
46 - ARod on the run - gets a corner as Fukumoto parries the shot.
47 - Japan counters on the corner clearance. The U.S. with some sloppy defending there, but they clear.
49 - Cross overhit by Japan, out for a U.S. goal kick.
50 - ARod shoots wide. Mitts then gets a yellow for kicking the ball away. The service confuses the U.S. defense again, but they eventually clear.
52 - ARod beats her defender, rounds in on goal - shoots. Fukumoto saves. ARod could have passed that, just to unsettle Japan by exercising more options. Still, very nice run.
54 - Hucles goes down from a Sawa tackle. She looks in pain, but she gets up and shakes it off.
55 - Chastain opines that the U.S. isn't tired from the Canada game. I differ on that. It's just after the half right now, when they've had a chance to take a breather. Watch for more signs of fatigue in twenty minutes.
56 - Hara comes in for Ando, first sub of game.
58 - The U.S. is controlling more of the play, but that didn't guarantee an advantage for Japan in the first half.
61 - Fukumoto punches out a ball in her box, but the U.S. is keeping the pressure on. If Japan is rattled at all, the Americans will take advantage.
63 - Chastain correctly diagnoses that Japan isn't playing the nice possession style to set up attacks the way they did before.
64 - O'Reilly shot sets up a corner. Hucles takes, foul in the box gives ball back to Japan.
65 - Nice buildup by Japan.
68 - Oooh, chances for Japan as they get back to the play that made them successful. The U.S. defense is scrambling.
69 - Kai is in for Tarp, by the way.
70 - GOAL! O'Reilly scores against the run of recent play. It looked like an attempted cross, but it spun into the goal in a tricky trajectory that fooled Fukumoto. 3-1 U.S.
75 - Arakawa has come in, with her crazy hair. It's probably useful in headers - nice cushion.
76 - Kai on the run, but her cross gets to O'Reilly on a 50-50, and O'Reilly clips her defender.
77 - Chastain campaigns for Boxx to be subbed out.
79 - Sakaguchi from distance, but Solo sees the ball in the whole way for the catch.
80 - U.S. corner.
GOAL! Hucles takes the corner, gets the ball back, cuts around her defender and hits a loopy little cross that spins into the goal. Fukumoto leaned one way, then backpedaled too late. 4-1, U.S.
82 - Sawa in the box - misses.
83 - Cheney coming in for ARod. That open-heart surgery tidbit about Lauren gets mentioned as often as "Kai is Hawaiian" and "Jay Heaps played Duke basketball".
84 - Mitts cramps up and tries to quickly stretch it out during the run of play.
86 - Cheney shoots from the corner of the box - high.
87 - Stephanie Cox comes in for the cramping Mitts.
88 - Kai shoots, gets a corner.
89 - "Six - one for the United States," says Dellacamera. Chastain doesn't correct him, but maybe he didn't mean the score, but CK.
90 - Cheney earns her team a corner. It's taken short, which is nice to see for variety, even though the shot doesn't quite come off.
Ok, I predicted both the U.S. and Brazil would advance, but did I imagine both would go down early and then storm back to score four goals? Um, no.
Off the crossbar by Sawa! Japan still fighting. Counter going the other way leads to a Lloyd shot, but Fukumoto stuffs her one on one.
GOAL! Desperate push by Japan, ball off the post, Solo scrambling, but can't grab the ball and the ball slips by Rampone, shot by Arakawa gets in. 4-2.
The U.S. is in the goal medal match, where they will meet a very tough Brazil team. Should be a good game. The U.S. defense can't be happy about that last, late goal from Japan, so that might serve as a good reminder on when to stay sharp. Considering that it's likely that two of the goals by the Americans weren't really intentional, the last thing the U.S. should get is cocky.