Whatever the USWNT did between the last game vs. Japan and today worked - the U.S. came out strong from the very beginning. It started with a shot at the keeper in the first minute and didn't let up from there, with some great opportunities throughout the first half, including five shots on goal (Japan didn't have any shots on goal in the first half).
Julie Johnston was shown a yellow card in the 13th minute for tripping up Yuika Sugasawa just outside the 18, giving Japan their first real chance, but the free kick sailed up and over the goal.
Despite high offensive pressure from Japan, the U.S. locked down the back line and tightened up the defense, gaining more control and not giving Japan many chances to penetrate. Japan struggled to get the ball out of their half, which was not something we saw much of in the last game.
When the U.S. earned a free kick in the 26th minute, players packed in the box, and the commentators mentioned that set pieces are traditionally a weakness for the Japanese team. The comment turned out to be foreshadowing, when the U.S. took advantage of a misplayed clear and Allie Long crossed the ball perfectly through the box, making it easy for Julie Johnston to boot in. Though she may have been a step offside, there was no call, and the U.S. went up 1-0.
In the 35th minute, Yuika Sugasawa returned a foul to Johnston and picked up a yellow herself.
After the half, the U.S. came out strong again, with another shot within the first minute of play, and a great chance by Tobin Heath that Japanese goalkeeper Erina Yumane poked away.
While Japan was already at three substitutions, the U.S. brought in Lindsey Horan as their first sub at the 57th minute, to replace Midfielder Morgan Brian. A few minutes later, Julie Johnston had a Japanese player sneaking up on her, but got a pass through to Crystal Dunn just in time. Dunn bent the ball around the defender for a gorgeous pass to Alex Morgan, who one-touched it into the back of the net. This marked Morgan's 7th goal against Japan, her most against any country, and 11th goal of 2016.
Japan turned on the pressure for the next few minutes, giving Hope Solo a little bit of action, but the U.S. regained control and got a couple more shots.
It had been cloudy all day, but the temperature started dropping and giant rain drops started falling from the sky, causing a weather delay and stopping play at the 76th minute.
After 45 minutes of lightning and inclement weather, the match was called, giving Hope Solo her 99th shutout with a final score of 2-0.