U.S. Women's National Team

U.S. women fall for first time in group stage, will face Brazil in quarterfinals

U.S. Soccer Federation

The United States women's national team's smooth road in the FIFA Women's World Cup just got a whole lot bumpier.

Two defensive miscues turned into two first-half Sweden goals, and the United States fell in the group stage of the World Cup for the first time after a 2-1 loss to the European side in Wolfsburg, Germany. As a result, the Americans finished second in Group C and will be paired with Group D winner and powerhouse Brazil in the quarterfinals while group winner Sweden meets Australia.

After the United States fell behind, 2-0, Abby Wambach, who played 90 minutes despite battling Achilles tendonitis and sitting on a yellow card, pulled a goal back for the United States midway through the second half when a corner kick deflected off her shoulder.

That was not enough to offset Lisa Dahlkvist's 15th-minute penalty kick, which was granted after left back Amy LePeilbet committed a foul in the area.

LePeilbet was inadvertently at fault again for Sweden's second goal in the 35th minute, when Nila Fischer's free kick deflected off LePeilbet's leg and wrongfooted U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo before finding the back of the net.

The United States, which played without starting right winger Heather O'Reilly (groin), generated a number of chances but couldn't convert. Lauren Cheney missed inches to the left on a shot from outside the area and then fired just over the crossbar on another volley attempt. Amy Rodriguez had a chance hit the woodwork when her chip from the top of the area clipped the top of the crossbar.

The loss was the second U.S. one to Sweden this year. Sweden won by the same scoreline at the Four Nations Tournament in China back in January.


What did you think of the match? What personnel moves would you have made? How much of a chance do you give the U.S. women at beating Brazil and advancing?

Share your thoughts below.

  • marco

    Some interesting comparisons between USMNT and USWNT. Both sides have big trouble at left back, Bornstein/LePeilbet. Both sides are very poor at finishing. Both sides downplayed earlier poor performances as unimportant.


  • Dennis

    The issue is not so much coaching as the players who are athletic knowing that they can succeed by that alone. I know a few coaches among the national team youth coaches and they would agree with you regarding skill. These coaches complain (rightly from what I’ve seen) that the players they get into the various camps require way too much time doing remedial skill work. That despite the coaches and selectors doing their best to find skilled players capable of competing. At the national level, there is so much required to succeed, athleticism actually is an important one simply because it requires a great skill advantage (and similarly skilled teammates) to overcome size, speed and strength disadvantages in a competitive game. The problem is the most athletic players need to learn to be more skillful and to learn that, they need to be put in situations where their athleticism will not let them win despite sloppy play. At the youth level, I think this means having players compete in age groups or leagues where there athleticism is average so that theymust find other ways to excel.

    How that can be accomplished while most youth coaches want to retain their “stars” in order to win games is a tension that has not been settled.


  • Joe

    And Dorrance should absolutely be listened to. He is the best we ever had and has won everywhere he’s been.

    We could see the truth in what he says today. The long ball produced nothing… short passing is where the chances came from. We just couldnt score. Our only goal was an accident that I’m not even sure Abby saw.

    Too bad USSF couldnt get Dorrance involved in some capacity… we need him … again


  • Paul Thomas

    I feel it should be observed at this point that traditional powers France, Portugal and Argentina all had disastrous qualifying campaigns that came down to playoffs (or in Argentina’s case, scraping by Peru at the last instant), and Italy was a lucky late goal against Ireland from ending up in the same place.

    Of course, none of those teams did much of anything at the World Cup, and two were out-and-out disasters… so I suppose that’s not exactly reassuring.


  • Paul Thomas

    She’s actually more appropriately compared to Bocanegra at LB, in that she is a good centerback who is woefully out of position on the flank.


  • biff

    Hi Bob. I don’t understand your logic that the Panamanian men’s team is comparable to the Swedish women’s team. Sweden is, indeed, ranked Number 5 in the world and North Korea is not a bad team as you incorrectly asserted, but ranked Number 8. Nonetheless, I agree with you 100% that the USWNT should have beat Sweden and that Pia Sundhage should be fired and replaced if she does not make the necessary adjustments to recover and beat Brazil to make it to the World Cup (not Gold Cup) Semi-final. I feel that Bob Bradley should be fired as soon as possible and replaced with a world-class foreign coach for failing to win the Gold Cup. And, actually, even if the USWNT beats Brazil, I think Sundhage should step down. It makes sense for a new coach to take over for a new WC cycle. Teams need a fresh face, a new perspective. We see with Bob Bradley what happens when a coach is kept on for a second WC cycle. The team has played poorly the past year. BB has lost the team, they don’t respect him anymore and they played poorly in the GC. Even when they won against global powerhouses like Guadeloupe, did not look so good. I fear that a BB-coached team will not qualify for WC2014.


  • john

    AL17: B.B. stays as MNT coach, P.S. canned? I think we’ve discovered the problem with American soccer… if you reflect others.

    The WNT is underperforming at this moment. But they had become a single-note team until P.S. turned it around. This is a globally held view in serious football/soccer circles.

    Whether or not her tenure continues is another matter (a coach needs to motivate the players — which is flagging right now). Sometimes changes are needed.

    It was 12 months ago, just 12 months, most – even in Europe – believed the U.S. were the clear front-runners for teh WWC. Three wins on the trot against Germany solidified that.

    The team seems to have peaked early (about a year early). But P.S. turned the whole program around. Right now, the players aren’t living up to their potential.


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