The United States women’s national team isn’t mincing any words after a disastrous start to this year’s Olympic competition.
On Wednesday, the top-ranked Americans saw their 44-match loseless streak come to an end in a listless fashion with a 3-0 loss to Sweden in their Olympic opener.
“We got our asses kicked, didn’t we?” Megan Rapinoe said after the match. “… I thought we were a little tight, a little nervous, just doing dumb stuff.
“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.”
Sweden has foiled Team USA in its quest for gold before. In the 2016 Games, Sweden stunned the USWNT in a penalty shootout victory, sending the Americans home in the quarterfinals — their earliest Olympic exit in history.
Now, the USWNT finds itself looking up to Sweden in Group G. Only the top two teams in the group advance into the tournament’s knockout round, leaving little margin for error.
“I think ultimately as an athlete, you go through ups and downs and this is a hard result, but it’s the nature of a tough tournament,” forward Christen Press said. “It wasn’t going to be easy. We weren’t going to breeze through six games no matter what. So here we are.”
The USWNT next takes the pitch on Saturday against New Zealand in a must-win scenario.
“It’s obvious we put ourselves in a big hole, but we’re the only ones who can get ourselves out of it,” USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “It’s not going to be easy. We’ve got to get positive results in the next two games, but the fact there is still a chance [means] I know this team is not going to give up.”
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