USA women's soccer out of Rio Olympics after stunning loss to Sweden

Ross Houston
August 13, 2016

The United States had played in the final every year since women's soccer became an Olympic sport 1996, winning gold four times.

Sweden scored against the United States in 61 minutes when Stina Blackstenius ran on to a defense-splitting pass and calmly slotted the ball past USA keeper Hope Solo. It was the first time that an Olympic women's match had gone to penalties.

The U.S. dominated possession in the game but failed to create many good scoring chances, and Sweden went up 1-0 on a brilliantly executed counter finished by Stina Blackstenius in the 61st minute. Star forward Alex Morgan, who had tied the game with a heroic goal in the 78th minute, telegraphed her attempt toward the right post and was stopped by Swedish keeper Hedvig Lindahl.

The US women's national team are golden no more.

In the first tiebreaker in Olympic women's history, each goalkeeper made a save in the first three rounds. Lloyd almost put the United States ahead in the 85th but her kick to the far corner went just wide. So Solo's criticism might have been directed more at her former coach than the Swedish team.

The Swedes jumped for joy, while the USA players walked off heartbroken and in disbelief. Dunn did come on for Long in the 65th minute after Sweden had scored, and she made an instant impact, beating defenders on the dribble and creating problems for the Swedes. Becky Sauerbrunn and Julie Johnston extinguished potential threats in the run of play, but the us defense looked uneasy at times on set pieces. They also played their previous match in Manaus, which is in the middle of the Amazon and left them with very long and taxing travel before this quarterfinal.

A minute later, Morgan latched onto another through ball and rounded Lindahl, but was forced to play a cross in from a tight angle.

United States goalkeeper Hope Solo has launched an extraordinary attack on Sweden, labelling them "cowards" after their stunning upset of the Americans on penalties in the quarterfinals. Nearly immediately after that play, Lotta Schelin put the ball in the back of Hope Solo's net only for that obviously good goal to be waved offside. She punched out a blast by Brian in the first few minutes and then got a hand on a shot from Carli Lloyd halfway through the opening half.

Jubilant Sweden, who stuttered through the group stages to quality as a third-placed team, will now face a semi-final against Brazil or Australia - who meet later on Friday - in Rio next Tuesday.

The game went into overtime, with both teams desperate to break the deadlock and avoid a dreaded penalty shootout, which really is a lottery.

There's no question she's the greatest goalkeeper in soccer, but she's a awful representative for the United States.

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