USWNT convincingly defeated in game one of the Olympics

Sweden's Stina Blackstenius scores against the USWNT during Tokyo Olmypics (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Sweden's Stina Blackstenius scores against the USWNT during Tokyo Olmypics (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) /
Sweden’s Stina Blackstenius scores against the USWNT during Tokyo Olympics (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) /

Any American who opted to watch the replay of Wednesday’s game after a good night’s sleep would have woken up utterly stunned to see that Sweden had defeated the United States 3-0 in their opening match of the Olympics. Per Olympic rules, the match took place in an empty stadium where the silence only compounded the blow felt by the US after each goal.

From the opening whistle, Sweden dictated everything about this game. They looked strong, fast, organized, and intent on attacking the United States midfield and back line relentlessly. Not even Japan’s heat and humidity could slow them down.

More from Playing for 90

In contrast, the USWNT always looked a step behind. They were spread out and picked apart as Sweden split the defense time and time again.

The front line hardly saw the ball for large stretches of time, and when the team finally put something together that showed hints of the powerhouse side they’re expected to be, the final piece of the puzzle was lacking.

One pass, two passes, maybe every now and then a third pass…lose the ball. Dribble, dribble, dribble…lose the ball. Time and time again the USWNT let themselves down.

In the 70th minute, Christen Press missed an easy tap in into a goalkeeper-less goal from five yards out, sending it off the post instead. What should have been a turning point in the game instead became one more “shake-your-head” worthy moment.

Where does the USWNT go from here?

It’s not all doom and gloom for the USWNT. Sure, a world champion team with their eyes on the gold medal should never lose the opening match of the Olympics 3-0. However, the US side is made of tough stuff and if anyone can bounce back from a disappointing defeat, it’s them.

The USWNT now faces New Zealand and Australia to finish out the group stage games. Both are teams the US should beat. I’m not particularly concerned about the USWNT making it out of their bracket. My concern lies in the knock-out stages where the tournament’s front runners will test the US just as Sweden did on Wednesday.

Next. USWNT Olympic roster expanded to 22. dark

The USWNT is not lacking in leadership, and they need the experience and fortitude of their veteran players now more than ever as they come together as a unit to face what lies ahead. It’s an uphill climb to the gold medal match, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the team brought their best hiking shoes for the journey.