‘We got our asses kicked’ in Sweden loss

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 unbeaten 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.

The USWNT fell to Sweden at the 2016 Olympics as well.

“Did we expect this result tonight? No,” said Rapinoe, who did not start but came on as a substitute in the 64th minute with the score 2-0. “It’s frustrating, and it’s frustrating that it’s Sweden. They found a lot of space on us. I don’t even know how many goals we have given up this whole year. I don’t remember the last time we gave up a goal. So to give up three is not great.”

This April, Sweden played the United States to a 1-1 draw in Stockholm, which snapped a winning streak dating back to January 2019 when the Americans lost to France in the run-up to the World Cup. It was the U.S. team’s only draw this year.

In 2008, the United States also lost its first match, 2-0 to Norway, but went on to win the gold medal.

“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 is what it is,” Rapinoe said. “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.”