The U.S. Women’s National Team came out of the locker room energized Monday, dictating the tempo early against Canada to clinch a 1-0 victory and the Concacaf W Championship trophy.
Following the win, Andi Sullivan credited the way the team gelled throughout the tournament final to the culture that materialized during the Monterrey, Mexico camp.
“I almost get emotional because the vibes with the team are really incredible,” USWNT midfielder Andi Sullivan said. “The blend between the senior leaders and the young players — for some, it’s their first tournament, or for some players, this is their umpteenth tournament — and I think that blend is incredible.”
While the Concacaf roster featured plenty of new faces, it also included veterans like Alex Morgan, who notched the USWNT’s lone goal against Canada, earning the tournament’s Golden Boot award.
🇺🇸 ⚽ GOAAAAL! @alexmorgan13!@USWNT takes the lead in the #CWC 2022 final! pic.twitter.com/v8EHm6phY9— Concacaf W (@ConcacafW) July 19, 2022
🇺🇸 ⚽ GOAAAAL! @alexmorgan13!@USWNT takes the lead in the #CWC 2022 final! pic.twitter.com/v8EHm6phY9
“That energy today was almost like, after a long trip, a long tournament, one of the most joyous days that we had was today,” Sullivan added. “And I think that speaks a lot about this group, and I think we got to celebrate that a lot on the field and after the game.”
Much has been made about the environment cultivated by the USWNT in the past, with Carli Lloyd opening up to Hope Solo on the veteran goalkeeper’s podcast in March about the team’s ethos.
“Even within our squad, the culture has changed,” Lloyd said. “It was really tough and challenging to play these last several years. To be quite honest, I hated it. It wasn’t fun going in.”
The postmortem analysis of the team’s underperformance at the Tokyo Olympics revealed a potential internal struggle as well.
“I feel like we haven’t had our joy, a little bit,” Megan Rapinoe said. “I think football always needs joy. I think that’s when the game is really played at its best, is when we have that. And yeah, I feel like we haven’t been able to do that. Everything’s just been a little bit of a struggle.”
Despite missing a series of chances, in the final third, the USWNT looked joyous during its title matchup with Canada, playing with vitality and urgency.
“We were able to maintain a superb environment and really positive environment, lots of energy and enthusiasm,” head coach Vlatko Andonovski told reporters after the match. “We came out in the last game of the tournament after being in a hotel for a month with the best energy they have had.”
The USWNT’s Concacaf trophy secures the team a 2024 Olympic berth, with the squad qualifying for the 2023 World Cup earlier in the tournament.