By CAITLIN MURRAY
Before the U.S. Women’s National Team’s 2014 opener, coach Tom Sermanni declared that the last year had been for experimenting and the USWNT will switch its focus to getting results. With that in mind, Sermanni will probably be leaving the Algarve Cup with some concerns.
The No. 1-ranked USWNT lost again Monday, falling 5-3 to No. 13-ranked Denmark in a surprise upset just three days after a loss to Sweden ended the USWNT’s 43-game unbeaten streak.
The loss to Denmark set a dubious record for the USWNT: It was the first time they have ever given up five goals in a single game. It was also the first time the USWNT had lost two games in a row since 2001.
With their second back-to-back loss after a tie to open the Algarve Cup, the USWNT is at the bottom of their group table for their worst-ever showing in the annual event.
It was a dismal first half for the USWNT, who were outplayed all over the field and went to the locker room down 0-3. By the second half, the USWNT seemed poised for an equalizer after scoring three goals in the span of seven minutes while Denmark scored a fourth for themselves.
But Denmark did not let up, eventually scoring a fifth goal in the final minute of stoppage time to dash any hopes the USWNT could catch up.
The USWNT made six changes to their starting 11 from the roster that started against Sweden – most notably up top, where the pairing of Christen Press and Sydney Leroux led the attack in a 4-4-2. The U.S. out-shot Denmark, 22 to 9, but for the third straight match faltered in their finishing.
Nothing seemed to work for the USWNT, particularly in the first half, but the back line of Meghan Klingenberg, Stephanie Cox, Whitney Engen and captain Christie Rampone especially struggled with allowing Denmark in behind. Hope Solo had little chance to keep the Danes at bay.
As Sermanni looks ahead to the 2015 World Cup, the USWNT’s performances over the past three games are likely giving him plenty to think about.
The USWNT’s final match placement will be determined after other Algarve Cup results later today. The tournament is not being broadcast in the U.S.
What do you think of the result? What does it mean for the USWNT and Tom Sermanni’s plans? What does the USWNT need to do before the 2015 World Cup?
Share your thoughts below.