The U.S. Women’s Soccer on Friday, tied Sweden 0-0 in a poor game during Women’s World Cup.
Neither team looked dangerous during Friday’s women’s world cup. A lot of the issues that the USWNT had in their opening game and warm-up friendlies persisted in this match. But this performance wasn’t all bad, and U.S. fans shouldn’t get down on their chances to win the Women’s World Cup quite yet.
Two games into the World Cup, the USWNT have already played two of the toughest opponents they’ll see in the tournament. It’s unlikely that the Americans run into better teams than Sweden or Australia in their first two knockout stage games, and if they put in repeat performances over their next three matches, they’ll get to the semifinal. It would be disappointing to see the U.S. limp their way to the final four, then bow out when they came up against France or Germany, but that currently looks like a near-worst-case scenario.
There are still a lot of issues that the U.S. needs to work out before they get to that stage, but one might have been solved against Sweden. Becky Sauerbrunn was the only member of the American defense who looked great against Australia, but the entire back four played well against Sweden. The Swedes could have done a bit more to put the USWNT defense under pressure, but the back four’s performance, as a unit, had just as much to do with Sweden’s lack of chances. Julie Johnston, in particular, was significantly improved from the first game and was probably the woman of the match for the United States.
Reunions often come bundled with emotion, enough to fill a whole stadium sometimes. They can bring joy. They can bring wistfulness. Occasionally they can even turn out to be anticlimactic, which was the principal takeaway at Winnipeg Stadium Friday night, where the U.S. women’s soccer team faced its old coach on the biggest stage of their sport.
After a tepid start that had the feeling of two boxers pawing at each other in the center of the ring for a half hour, there was at last a frenzied finish, before things ended with a 0-0 tie in a Group D qualification game in the Women’s World Cup.
At 5 feet 2 inches, left back Meghan Klingenberg is the smallest player on the American women’s national team, but she made probably the probably biggest play on Friday night to preserve a 0-0 tie with Sweden in the World Cup.
In the 77th minute, a looping shot from about 10 yards out by Caroline Seger of Sweden appeared that it would elude goalkeeper Hope Solo and provide the decisive goal in a taut, frantic match.
But Klingenberg stood on the goal line at the right post, jumped and headed the ball off the underside of the crossbar. The ball bounced downward, but did not cross the line, and the Americans remained atop their group with a win and a draw after two matches.