Tokyo Olympics: USWNT players react after their shocking blowout loss against Sweden

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United States women’s national team superstar Megan Rapinoe summed it up in a matter of seconds on Thursday in her post-match press conference after the Americans opened up their participation at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

“We got our [expletive] kicked, didn’t we?”

A stunning, warranted 3-0 loss to Sweden to start the group stage saw the U.S. dominated for 90 minutes. The Swedish side, who bounced the U.S. from the 2016 Summer Olympics, became just the sixth team ever to beat the reigning World Cup champs by three goals. The U.S. rarely looked like a threat, struggled with precision in the attacking third, and Sweden made them pay, handing the tournament favorites an early set back in their pursuit of gold. 

It was one of those nightmare performances all teams dread, though you can find some positives in that it happened in the group stage and not in the knockout stage. While it is surprising it happened at all, the U.S. just looked off. Rapinoe put it differently.

“I thought we were a little tight, a little nervous, just doing dumb stuff,” she said after the match.

“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.

“It is what it is. We got bopped.”

While losing isn’t something the U.S. is familiar with, evident by their 44-game unbeaten streak that was snapped in this one, they can take a look back to just over a decade ago to see how a team can respond. It was the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, where the U.S. lost their opener to Norway and went on to win the gold. Carli Lloyd, who came off the bench for Alex Morgan against Sweden, was part of that team. She knows they’ll need a similar reaction to get back on track.

“We came away with the gold medal. It’s really, really important for us not to dwell too much on this game,” Lloyd said.

“Disappointing. We all can be better. Every single one of us. We’ll learn from it … We’ve got to keep fighting.”

Manager Vlatko Andonovsky summarized the task now ahead.

“We put ourselves in a big hole but we are the only ones who can ourselves out of it. Not going to be easy we have to get positive results in the next two games.”   

The U.S. return to action on Saturday against New Zealand. 

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