At the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, the United States gave up only three goals in seven games in winning the championship. Well, even before the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo ever officially began, the United States National Women’s Soccer Team gave up three goals in a 3-0 loss to Sweden on Wednesday.
Stina Blackstenius of Vadstena, Sweden scored twice in the three-goal win. Her first goal came in the 25th minute, and her second goal came in the 54th minute. The other Swedish goal scorer was Lina Hurtig of Avesta, who scored in the 72nd minute. Hurtig, meanwhile scored as a substitute.
This was the second straight Olympic Games where Sweden beat the United States. Four years ago in the quarterfinals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Sweden took the United States to penalty kicks after playing regulation and extra time tied at one goal apiece. Then in the penalty kicks, Sweden outscored the United States 4-3.
The Americans are a powerhouse when it comes to women’s soccer. They find themselves in a situation where they have seldom faced before. Now the question will be who will step up and try to turn their tournament around? Is captain Becky Sauerbrunn past her prime at age 36? Has the American cockiness that they showed at the World Cup two years ago caught up to them and made their opponents want to beat the Americans even more? Is it time for the United States to make a goalkeeper change, and go with younger netminders Jane Campbell or Adrianna Franch over Alyssa Naeher, who clearly struggled in the loss to Sweden?
The loss by three goals is significant. Due to the fact the United States do not have weaker opponents such as Zambia or Chile in their group, they will may need to find a way to clobber one of their opponents, to improve their for and against ratio, which is currently at -3. One more loss to Australia or New Zealand in Group G action could force the United States to be on the outside looking in when the women’s quarterfinals start next week.