Megan Rapinoe On Sweden Defeat: ‘We Got Our Asses Kicked, Didn’t We?’
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In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the USWNT suffered a crushing end to its 44-game unbeaten streak and opened the Tokyo Olympics with a humbling 3-0 defeat to the only team that’s been able get the better of the U.S. in recent times, Sweden.
Stina Blackstenius — who scored against the U.S. at Rio 2016 — hit a brace, and Lina Hurtig put the game beyond doubt in the 72nd minute.
Vlatko Andonovski couldn’t find the answer, despite replacing Sam Mewis and Alex Morgan with Julie Ertz and Carli Lloyd at halftime. By the time Megan Rapinoe came in for Tobin Heath in the 64th minute, the game was already gone.
After the match, Rapinoe gave a blunt assessment of the team’s performance.
“We got our asses kicked, didn’t we?” Rapinoe said. “I thought we were a little tight, a little nervous, just doing dumb stuff like not passing the ball. There’s no time to dwell and think about if Sweden is living in our heads or not. We’ve got another game in three days. It is what it is. We got bopped.
“Did we expect this result tonight? No. It’s frustrating, and it’s frustrating that it’s Sweden. They found a lot of space on us. I don’t even know how many goals we have given up this whole year. I don’t remember the last time we gave up a goal. So to give up three is not great.”
To answer Rapinoe’s question, the USWNT had given up one goal all year — to Sweden in a 1-1 draw back in April. Sweden is certainly living ominously in the squad’s heads now. Even before the match, Christen Press admitted that there was still “a bitter taste” from that 2016 elimination and “that’s what drives this time.”
Maybe that ultimately hurt the U.S. in its ability to play its own game, but there’s a quick shot at redemption on Saturday against New Zealand. The USWNT is 15-1-1 all-time against the Football Ferns, outscoring them 62 to six in the process.
New Zealand lost its opening match to Australia, 2-1. The U.S. closes group play against the Matildas on Tuesday, July 27.