The Round of 16 is upon us, which means no messing around for the United States. Either you win and advance, or you lose and catch a flight home. Maybe there's extra time involved, or maybe it's cut and dry after 90 minutes, but at some point, someone will emerge victorious.
Am I getting too dramatic? I can't help it, this is the World Cup.
Anyway, for the U.S. - who showed their weaknesses in their three group games despite finishing at the top - this is a chance to see how things go when the pressure's on. Colombia have made it clear they don't care if the U.S. are favorites, and they're not going to sit back and let their opponents rack up goals.
This is shaping up to be a rough one, so buckle up. If the U.S. are going anywhere—you know, like the World Cup final—they've got to make it past Colombia first.
Kickoff time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Commonwealth Stadium (Edmonton, Canada)
TV/Streaming: Fox Sports 1 and NBC Universo for your TVs; Fox Sports Go, NBC Universo Now, and NBC Deportes En Vivo Extra for your streaming devices
Projected lineup: Ah, the lineup. As always, it starts out the same as it's been: Hope Solo in goal, with a back line of Ali Krieger, Julie Johnston, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Meghan Klingenberg. Move into the midfield and you've got Lauren Holiday and Carli Lloyd in the center there. Should Holiday be in a less defensive role? Yes, but this is Jill Ellis we're talking about, and this is what she'll keep doing.
Megan Rapinoe seems set to start on the wing, and I think in this one we see Christen Press move back into the midfield as well. She didn't play against Nigeria, and I'm not sure Tobin Heath made a strong enough case for herself that we'll see her starting again. Press will be on the field, and it won't be up top because I think Ellis starts Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan there again. Might it be Sydney Leroux for one of them instead? Of course it might be. And it might be Heather O'Reilly starting on the wing (ha ha ha no it won't).
Match previews and recommended reading: Like I said, Colombia are looking to make a statement tonight. So is Wambach, for that matter, although when isn't she making some sort of statement? But she's on the verge of tying Marta for most Women's World Cup goals scored by an individual. P.S. Alex Morgan says she's feeling good.
You've also got previews from Goal.com, MLS, the NWSL, the Washington Post, and some quick stats from ESPN. Plus? NBC Sports discusses how this tournament is about more than just soccer for Colombia, and SI talks about Tom Sermanni, formerly USWNT head coach, now an assistant coach with Canada.
Prediction: 2-1 to the U.S. Yeah, they're going through. No crashing out (yet).
What are you drinking? Living that three buck chuck Pinot Grigio life, y'all.
Hit the comments for pre-, in-, and post-game talk.