Olympics: Most questions than answers for USWNT in draw vs. Australia

USWNT Olympics Japan

Heading into the Tokyo Summer Olympics, there was hardly any doubt that the United States women’s national team was the tournament favorites. In fact, it almost seemed sure that the USWNT would make history as the first nation to win a World Cup and Olympics back-to-back.

However, that confidence has certainly diminished. The United States hasn’t impressed in the group stage. A humbling loss to Sweden, 3-0, caused plenty of confusion to U.S. fans. There’s no doubt that Sweden is a good team. In fact, they won the bronze medal at the 2019 World Cup. However, the U.S. has beaten them more than once.

The confidence seemed to build up against New Zealand, as the United States took a 6-1 win. Two own goals helped the USWNT, but Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan, Christen Press and Alex Morgan added tallies of their own. With all due respect to New Zealand, the United States was the superior opponent heading into the match.

Against Australia, the United States seemed to be the superior opponent too. Australia has had a rough international slew of matches in 2021, losing four games and drawing once before the Olympics. However, the Australians were able to keep the United States away from the net.

Morgan had what looked like a goal, but VAR ruled it offside. The call was close, but correct.

Morgan’s chance was the best for the United States. In total, the USWNT took four shots on goal, all saved by Teagan Micah. Australia took three shots on goal, saved by Alyssa Naeher.

After the match, U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski saying the goal was to not get scored on.

“We came with the mindset that the first goal was to win the game, and the second goal was to put in a good, professional performance and not get scored on,” Andonovski said. “We didn’t accomplish the first one, but we did the second one, which was very important because it ultimately put us in the same place.”

Three Takeaways from the USWNT vs. Australia

  1. USA is playing sloppy:Β There’s no other way to say it. The United States is playing incredibly sloppy football. That killer-instinct isn’t there. I have never, in my six years of covering this team, seen this team willingly sit back just to get the bare minimum. Yes, they are heading to the knockouts, but a first-round exit suddenly doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
  2. Australia narrowly gets in too:Β The Australians haven’t had the healthiest tournament either. Nobody beat Sweden, and the Swedes are a tough team. However, the Australians have a good counter attack and were playing against a weak U.S. team. Sam Kerr, Alanna Kennedy and Ellie Carpenter need to be on their A-game against Great Britain.
  3. Netherlands have the game reel: All the Dutch have to do against the United States is watch the game reel from the Australia and Sweden matches. This is a rematch of the World Cup finale in 2019. The two sides met up again in November 2020 for a friendly in the Netherlands, where the USWNT won 2-0. However, these are two completely different teams. The Dutch look comfortable. The USWNT do not.

Looking ahead: Olympic Quarterfinals

All of the matches will be on Friday and will air on NBC Sports app and website.

  • Canada vs. Brazil at 4 AM ET/1 AM PT
  • Great Britain vs. Australia at 5 AM ET/2 AM PT
  • Sweden vs. Japan at 6 AM ET/3 AM PT
  • Netherlands vs. United States at 7 AM ET/4 AM PT

 

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