MOE-BORN goalkeeper Teagan Micah resumed her position between the sticks for the Matildas on Tuesday night as they held on for a scoreless draw against a highly fancied American team to progress to the quarter-finals.
Caught up in a duel for the goalkeeper position with Matildas veteran Lydia Williams, the 23-year old once again received the nod to start and did her chances of continuing in the role no harm, keeping her first Olympic clean sheet.
Playing in front of a 1000 strong crowd of local students at the Kashima Stadium, the players were greeted to some much anticipated cheers which have been a glaring omission to these Olympic Games.
Facing the challenge of negating US attackers such as Alex Morgan, Christen Press and Megan Rapinoe, Micah would rise to the biggest game of her young career with her composure a hallmark of what proved to be a pivotal performance.
Challenged early by a US counter attack in the eighth minute, she would see off an on target strike by Morgan to bring her confidence up, before being saved in the 30th minute by an offside flag after the American striker headed home a beautiful cross.
As the game progressed, Micah would continue to grow as she constantly left her post to put pressure on incoming attacks and drew a number of fouls from putting her body on the line.
The second half would largely yield no significant threats from either team, as both sides tried their hardest to break through some sturdy defensive structures put in place by the respective coaches.
Micah would be challenged once again in the games dying stages, coming off her line in stoppage time to deny one last attack from Carli Lloyd to ensure Australia came away with their share of the points.
Finishing with a score line of 0-0, it was a much more accomplished performance from the Matildas following their 4-2 loss to Sweden in the second pool game.
Post-game Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson said he was pleased to see his team in control for large periods of the match.
“What I’m pleased with from our standpoint is that it felt like we were in control in a lot of moments of the game, both with and without the ball,” Gustavsson said.
“Going into this game, I was asked how are you going to approach the US game, and I said, we’re going to be true to who we are and hopefully it’s good enough.
“You saw a team today that pressed aggressively every time we could, but we were also good in our lower block when we needed and when you play the US, you need to be humble enough to understand that sometimes you need to sit in a low block as well.”
This result sees the Matildas progress into the Quarter Finals stage and sets up a clash with Great Britain at 7pm tomorrow night.
Australia 0 drew with USA 0.