Rose Lavelle. (Photo: Getty Images)
Rose Lavelle. (Photo: Getty Images)
Add another star to the American legacy. 
 
The United States women's national soccer team secured its fourth-ever World Cup title on Sunday afternoon in Lyon, France with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands. 
 
Second-half goals from the enigmatic Megan Rapinoe — which was a penalty — and the budding Rose Lavelle did the trick for the Americans, who had to do plenty of work to break through a resolute Dutch defense.
 
The Netherlands deployed a similar tactic made popular by Sweden when dealing with the overwhelming United States attack. Sitting back to keep their defensive shape, the Oranje's first priority was to limit America's scoring opportunities while searching for the occasional counter-attack. 
 
It worked as they were the first team to hold the US goalless through the opening 12 minutes of a 2019 World Cup match — along with the remainder of the first half.
 
One of the Americans' best chances came in the 28th minute off a corner when Julie Ertz's diving volley was parried away by Sari van Veenendaal. 
 
Van Veenendaal would come up big twice in the 38th minute off a pair of US crosses that were directed on the Dutch goal as the Americans inched closer toward a breakthrough. The first was sent away well off Ertz's head while the second was an Alex Morgan header that was saved onto the near post by the Netherlands keeper. 
 
Morgan was denied just moments later when her shot from just outside the 18-yard-box was pushed wide by van Veenendaal. 
 
The scoreless first half further confirmed just how legitimate the Netherlands defense has been at the World Cup. At the halftime break, they hadn't conceded a goal in the last 302 minutes of play. 
 
The streak would last just 15 minutes into the second half when VAR awarded the United States with a penalty after Stefanie van der Gragt's high boot in the box made contact with Morgan. 
 
Up stepped Rapinoe in the 61st minute, who shouldered the pressure of the moment and detractors to slot a low shot into the bottom-right corner of the goal. 
 
Rapinoe had been a fixture in the news over the past month given her vocal advocacy of equality for the women's squad while voicing her displeasure for the Trump administration.
 
While the goal put the US up, it put them in a difficult situation to close out the match. 
 
The Netherlands are a side that grows stronger the later things wind into the second half. If the US opted to sit back and protect the lead, they would invite heaps of Dutch pressure. If they continued to press things offensively, they would have continued to leave things open for a counter-attack. 
 
Manager Jill Ellis opted for the latter in the following minutes and it paid off. 
 
Rose Lavelle, who had been close on countless occasions throughout the tournament finally got a third World Cup goal with that lethal left foot just eight minutes after Rapinoe's opener. 
 
The young midfielder's run cut through the center of the Dutch defense before slotting a low shot just past the outstretched hands of van Veenendaal. It was her first goal at the World Cup since recording a brace against Thailand in the United States' opening match of the group stage. 
 
While the Netherlands pressed to get on the board, the US defense held firm. Semifinal hero and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher saw just two Dutch shots land on target throughout the match. 
 
The victory ensured that Ellis was the first women's manager to successfully defend a World Cup title while the Americans' four championships are now two more than second-place Germany.
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