all scores

Ali Krieger on Carli Lloyd’s USWNT criticism: ‘They’re allowed to smile’

Trinity Rodman takes selfies with fans after the USWNT's scoreless draw against Portugal to close out the World Cup group stage. (Brad Smith/USSF/Getty Images)

Former U.S. women’s national team defender Ali Krieger took issue with some of Carli Lloyd’s comments on the 2023 World Cup squad. There is a way to criticize the team’s performance without being “too arrogant,” Kreiger said.

Krieger and Lloyd played together on the 2011, 2015 and 2019 World Cup teams. Both have since retired from the national team, and Lloyd is a Fox Sports analyst for the 2023 tournament.

Following the USWNT’s scoreless draw with Portugal on Tuesday, Lloyd, 41, called the performance “uninspiring” and questioned the team’s mentality. She echoed previous comments she has made about a shift in the team culture. And then she doubled down in an interview with Fox Sports, noting that she warned the team not to “take anything for granted” ahead of her final game in 2021.

“But the problem is when you win, and you get things, winning has taken on a different meaning,” she said. “It is no longer we want to win because we want to win. No, we want everything that comes with winning, and we think we can just roll out and win games. And that’s not the case, and teams see that. They see the arrogance in the U.S. and see that they’re not this unstoppable team. They see that they’re able to be broken down and beaten.”

Krieger, 39, joined ESPN’s “SportsCenter” on Tuesday to discuss Lloyd’s criticism of the USWNT.

“I don’t think it was really necessary to say what she said,” Krieger said. “They’re allowed to smile. They’re allowed to enjoy the moment. They’re allowed to be happy that they made it into the 16. With a tie? Yeah, that’s not something that we love to celebrate, because we’re not used to that. Right? We can say that in a way that’s not too arrogant.”

Taking on Lloyd’s contention that USWNT players are too focused on building their brands and not focused enough on winning, Krieger disagreed.

“As women we can multitask, right?” she said. “We can make our money. We can play at the highest level. We can win championships, all at the same time. I don’t think we would be saying that about any of the male athletes on the men’s side, you know, doing everything and then also playing at the highest level.”

Lloyd took the time Wednesday to clarify what she meant with her postgame comments.

“Obviously I was very critical of the team last night,” she said, noting that she had some time to “reflect” what she had said. “I want people to understand that I care deeply about this team. I’ve poured my heart and soul into this team for 17 years. And it was based off a legacy that was just passed down from generation to generation, the mentality, the DNA of what makes that team so great.

“My comments were reflective of me wanting to see that legacy continue to be passed down from generation to generation. And with that, it comes with hard work. It comes with focus. And so my hope is that that continues. Because that is what makes the U.S. so special and so deadly, and that is what ultimately has won us championships.”