Netherlands finds out the hard way not to mess with Lindsey Horan

U.S. forward Lindsey Horan celebrates after scoring a goal.
U.S. forward Lindsey Horan celebrates after scoring in a 1-1 draw against the Netherlands at the Women’s World Cup on Thursday.
(Alysa Rubin / Associated Press)

The Netherlands was on its way to Women’s World Cup history Thursday when it made the biggest mistake of the tournament.

It poked the bear.

With the Dutch leading the U.S. by a goal and seemingly in control of the group-play match, midfielder Danielle van de Donk laid out American captain Lindsey Horan with a vicious cross-body block along the touch line.


That made Horan mad. Then moments later she got even, climbing gingerly off the turf and dunking on the whole Dutch team, heading in a Rose Lavelle corner kick at the near post to salvage a 1-1 tie and leave the U.S. in control of its own destiny heading into next week’s group-play finales.


“Instead of crying about it, she just goes and makes a statement,” U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “And basically shows everyone the direction that the game is going to take.”

With the draw, the Americans and the Netherlands share the top spot in the group table with four points apiece. But the U.S. leads on goal differential, so if it beats Portugal and maintains any part of that two-score edge, it wins the group and will be rewarded with an easier path through the knockout rounds.

They have Van de Donk to thank for that.

After the play along the sideline, a furious Horan sought out Van de Donk, her club teammate at Lyon, in the Dutch penalty area as the teams sent up for the corner kick. At first players tried to separate the two before Japanese referee Yoshimi Yamashita briefly paused the match for an attempt at peace talks. That went nowhere.

“I got a little heated and she got to hear it,” Horan said. “I don’t think you ever want to get me mad. I don’t react in a good way.”

Van de Donk thought it was much ado about nothing.

“It was just a duel along the sideline that I won,” she said. “She came over. We just had a little talk and the referee came in between. It wasn’t really necessary. I mean, we just play football again after that.”

Horan’s teammates knew how she’d settle things.

“We were like, ‘OK, now you’ve got to score,’” Sophia Smith said. “You can’t do all that and not score.”


“We were feeling like it was coming,” Alex Morgan added. “After the ref pulled Lindsay and Van de Donk aside, I felt like something was going to happen.”

And it did, with Horan losing her mark as she dashed through traffic for the near post. She then went high to reach Lavelle’s in-swinging corner, deflecting it off defender Esmee Brugts and into the net in the 62nd minute.

“It’s a big game,” Smith said. “She’s a big player that steps up in big games.”

For the first hour, everything had gone the Netherlands’ way. When Jill Roord scored in the 17th minute, the Dutch became the first team to lead the U.S. in a World Cup game since 2011. That was also the last time the U.S, the two-time defending champions, had lost in this tournament.

But with the Netherlands dominating possession and playing keep-away in the midfield, the Americans’ 18-game unbeaten streak was in danger. So was another: the Netherlands hadn’t beaten the U.S. in 32 years. Only two players on the team were even alive the last time it happened, and both were wearing diapers then.

The Dutch have been getting close though. Thursday’s game was a replay of the 2019 World Cup final, won by the U.S. 2-0. The teams also met in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics, playing to a draw before the Dutch were eliminated on penalty kicks.

Those two games filled the Dutch with confidence.

“We are not afraid of the U.S.A.,” Andries Jonker said before the match.

Maybe. But some of them were a little starstruck.

“To play on the pitch with Alex Morgan is, like, unreal,” said the 19-year-old Brugts. “Normally I see her on television, but not playing next to her. So that’s weird.”

The momentum began to swing at the start of the second half when Andonovski brought Lavelle on in place of Savannah DeMelo.


“Rose brings flair to the game,” center back Julie Ertz said. “When she came in, she definitely elevated and added a little bit more threat.”

Thursday’s effort was an improvement over the U.S. performance in its tournament-opening win over Vietnam, with the Americans outshooting the Netherlands 18-5; Roord’s goal was the only one the Dutch put on target.

Lindsey Horan’s second-half header gave the USWNT a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands and left it atop the group standings in Thursday’s Women’s World Cup match.

July 26, 2023

But once again they blew far too many chances, with Trinity Rodman holding the ball a beat too long on Morgan’s apparent go-ahead goal late in the second half, causing the score to be negated by an offside call. Rodman had another chance in the 82nd minute when she came in alone on Dutch keeper Daphne van Domselaar, but she pushed that try wide of the far post.

“This team has not had time together,” said Andonovski, whose roster includes 14 World Cup debutantes. “Hopefully as we move forward, we’re going to see a better and better U.S. team.”

The fact the U.S. had to scratch and claw its way to a result Thursday will help in that process.

“It’s huge,” the coach said. “It’s one thing to have an experienced team and to do that. But it’s a lot bigger with a younger team, an inexperienced team. We’re obviously disappointed we didn’t win the game, but there are lots of positives coming out of this game, and going forward into the next one.”


The next one will come Tuesday, back in the U.S. base of Auckland, where the Americans will meet Portugal, a 2-0 winner over Vietnam on Thursday, in the game that will set the team’s path through the rest of the tournament.

“The group,” Morgan said, “is up for grabs.”

All because Danielle van de Donk decided to poke the bear.