US Soccer Releases Statement On US Women’s National Team Being Eliminated

Megan Rapinoe

Getty Image / Joe Breton

The US Women’s National Team came into the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup with big hopes. The two-time defending champs came in ranked number one in the world and as the tournament’s betting favorite.

But, there was trouble coming into the tournament. Key players and likely starters Catarina Macario, Mallory Swanson, and Sam Mewis picked up injuries this year that would keep them out of the tournament, and they didn’t look great in their preparation matches for the tournament.

So, when the team struggled through the group stage, with their only win coming against lowly Vietnam and ties against The Netherlands and Portugal, the team was rightfully criticized by fans and pundits alike.

Their second place finish in Group E set up a Round of 16 match with third-ranked Sweden. And, the USA played by far their best soccer of the tournament. If you look at the stats, you’d think they won by multiple goals. Shots on goal were 11-1, the USA had a huge edge in possession, and the flow of the match was controlled by the Stars and Stripes. But, they just couldn’t put the ball in the net, as Swedish goalkeeper Zecira Musovic was incredibly.

Ultimately, it came down to a penalty shootout. The USA had a chance to win on a Sophia Smith attempt in round 5, but she sent her kick high and wide.

Two rounds later, American Kelly O’Hara missed, setting up Alyssa Naeher with a must-save opportunity to keep the USA’s tournament hopes alive. She almost did just that, only for the ball to cross the line by legitimately one millimeter.

And, on Sunday evening, US Soccer put out a statement regarding the exit, the earliest the team has ever been knocked out in the history of the Women’s World Cup.

Of course, a big focus these next few months will be on the future of USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski. Since getting the job after the 2019 World Cup, he has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny, and the team is now 0-2 in winning the top prize at either the Olympics or the Women’s World Cup. The team’s sights will now be set on next summer’s Olympic Games in Paris.