As the festivities for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games begin the US women’s soccer team was among the first to suffer defeat in the games. The 3-0 loss ends a 44 game winning streak and came at the hands of one of the gold medal favorites, Sweden.
Stina Blackstenius would see two goals be tallied for her during the match against US goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher. One of her impressive goals came off a rebound from a header kick that failed to hit its mark sent in by a great set piece from the corner.
Blackstenius would score once more in the 54th minute of the match to put Sweden up by two, and the final goal against the U.S. would be scored by Linda Hurting, who replaced Blackstenius in the 72nd minute of the match.
This marked the 1st loss for the US Women’s Soccer National Team since January 19, 2019, in a friendly match against France. It was also only the 3rd time the USWNT has lost by 3 or more goals in a major tournament with the last loss of this magnitude being in the 2007 World Cup Semifinals. The last time the women’s team gave up a 3-goal loss in any match was March 2017.
“It is what it is. We got bopped, and we have two more games coming quick and fast. And now we know exactly what we need to do. We need to win these games and eventually get out of the group and go from there,” the U.S.’ Megan Rapinoe said after the game.
Other than the score the statistics of the game were pretty level with the Sweds being able to capitalize more on their 9 shots on goal throughout the match.
Sweden came in as the number 5-ranked country in the world and had handed the U.S. an early exit in the 2016 Rio Games, the earliest the U.S. had been eliminated from the Olympics. Sweden won the silver medal in 2016, losing to Germany in the gold medal game.
Before the game, both sides partook in the now ceremonious kneeling before the match officially started after deciding to ditch kneeling during the national anthem to focus on more “behind-the-scenes” work instead. The kneeling has now begun to steal the show in these types of events. An official blew a whistle and all the players dropped to one knee. According to Yahoo Sports, at least one referee on the field also took a knee.
“It’s an opportunity for us to continue to use our voices and use our platforms to talk about the things that affect all of us intimately in different ways,” Megan Rapinoe said after their loss to Sweden.
“We have people from Team USA, from all over the country, from all backgrounds, and people literally from all over the world for every other team so I obviously encourage everyone to use that platform to the best of their ability to do the most good that they possibly can in the world, especially as all eyes are on Tokyo these next couple weeks”
However, the damage has been done according to some Americans who have now begun to celebrate the team’s defeats more than their victories. One such example of the team’s disrespect toward the national anthem and flag came before a friendly match against Mexico.
Earlier in the month, the women’s team had come under fire for some players appearing to snub the flag and anthem as they turned away from the flag as 98-year-old World War II veteran Pete DuPré played the national anthem on his harmonica. The incident caught a lot of attention from people on both sides of the issue and created quite the stir at the time.
During a time where sports and political views have been more comingled than ever, it is obvious Americans are losing patience for athletes that choose to raise their voice at times that can be construed as disrespectful to this country. While they are choosing to exercise their God-given right of free speech it is the timing and the actions that are causing the stir. With what started with Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem before football games has now begun to become a woke athlete rallying cry, crossing into other sports and alienating fans.