Three games away. Three wins to go.
That is how close the US women's national team is from securing a third straight Olympic gold medal and close to easing the lingering pain of last year's World Cup disappointment. They are within reach of redemption, while also showing us all that this American squad is worth the hype.
"This is when the tournament starts," US midfielder Lauren Cheney said Thursday. "It's knockout stage. There's no mess-ups in this."
The second half of the United States' gold medal journey will be significantly tougher than the first. While Friday's quarterfinal against New Zealand might be considered a cakewalk, it's likely to be anything but.
The Football Ferns only just squeezed into the quarterfinals by virtue of goal difference as a third-place group finisher. That doesn't really tell the tale of what makes New Zealand a tricky proposition for the United States.
New Zealand emerged from a tough group that featured Great Britain and Brazil, and managed to ...