The U.S. women’s soccer team’s stunning loss to Sweden in the opener ended its 44-match unbeaten streak, raising questions about the team’s path to gold from this point forward.
While the team may have been riding high on that streak, they certainly aren’t any longer.
“We’ve had a long string of wins, and we haven’t had a lot of games where we’ve had to come back or anything like that,” forward Christen Press said, choosing to remain optimistic after the game. “I think it was actually really good to have this match.”
There were elements to the game that can be improved upon, as the team at times looked stagnant and uncertain, something that USWNT fans can expect the team to work on moving forward.
“We got our asses kicked, didn’t we?” Megan Rapinoe said after the game.
“We were a little tight, a little nervous — doing dumb stuff like not passing the ball … I think a lot of it was just us not playing free and not being who we are and not enjoying it.”
“There’s no time to dwell and think about if Sweden is living in our heads or not,” Rapinoe continued. “We’ve got another game in three days.”
That game, against New Zealand, is now a must-win.
“Obviously we put ourselves in a big hole,” coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “But we’re the only ones to get ourselves out of it.”
Team captain Becky Sauerbrunn echoed Andonovski’s comments postgame.
“We, like Vlatko said, got ourselves into this mess,” she said, adding that it’s the team’s “responsibility” to get themselves out.
“It’s a frustrating loss, obviously not the way we wanted to start the tournament,” Rapinoe said. “But we’ll be ready for the next one.”