The US Women’s Soccer Team went into the Tokyo Olympics as heavy favorites to win gold. But after Canada upset the team 1-0 Monday, the team will have to scramble to medal at all.
The US team is known for its aggressive attacking style, but Canada’s defense was prepared. The Americans didn’t get a shot on goal until after the 60-minute mark, CBS said. However, the Americans defense held strong for most of the game. But at 75 minutes in, Tierna Davidson fouled Canada’s Deanne Rose in the box, setting up a penalty kick.
Unfortunately, there would be no late-game heroics from goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. Naeher, who stopped three penalty kicks against the Netherlands Friday, was out of the game after injuring her knee in the first half. The USWNT subbed in Adrianna Franch who guessed correctly at which side of the net Jessie Flemming would shoot the ball. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to stop the shot.
US coach Vlatko Andonovski struggled to explain why the team seemed so disconnected.
“I don’t really know,” he said, according to ESPN. “I think, first and foremost, we came out and competed hard, the players gave it all, tried hard, and I guess we’re going to have to go back and dig a little deeper and find out what is it that didn’t go the way we wanted, or what caused it to look the way it did. So, we’re going to have to dig pretty deep to find everything out.”
Rapinoe: There’s Still an Olympic Medal on the Line
The USWNT has won gold in four of the past six Olympics. But in Tokyo, the women seemed never seemed to gel as a team. And they seemed shaken after the early loss to rivals Sweden in the group stage. While they were able to bounce back against New Zealand, the team’s play didn’t live up to the hype.
Team co-caption Megan Rapinoe tried to put a silver lining on the loss Monday, pointing out that they could still win the bronze medal if they beat Australia on Thursday.
“There’s still a lot to compete for,” Rapinoe said. “That’s what I told the girls in the huddle. It’s not the color we want but there is still a medal on the line. That’s a huge thing, and we want to win that game.”
However, expectations for the team were sky-high heading into the Tokyo Olympics. The USWNT has dominated international play for more than two decades. For many, anything less than a gold medal would seem like a loss. Especially with the striking talent of the team’s front line.
Forward Alex Morgan said the team played well overall, but they couldn’t finish.
“Now we have to look ahead to the bronze medal game,” she said, according to USA Today. “I felt like a lot of the game, we dominated possession. But we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.”
The two teams that beat the USWNT at the Tokyo Olympics — Canada and Sweden — will face off for the gold medal on Thursday.