USA-Sweden Women's Olympics Player Ratings

July 21 in Tokyo
USA 0 Sweden 3. Goals: Blackstenius 25, 54, Hurtig 72.
Att.: behind closed doors.
* * * * * * * * * *

In its Olympic opener in Tokyo, the USA passed to the Swedes more than to each other, defended lackadaisically, constantly seemed a step slower, and squandered close-range chances in a 3-0 loss.

USA Player Ratings
(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)


Alyssa Naeher looked insecure on early saves when she batted the ball away instead of holding onto it. She was reluctant to come off her line for crosses -- all three goals came from close-range. She flinched on the second.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars) 74/0 (33)


Kelley O’Hara hit a cross to the keeper when she finally broke through on the flank late in the first half, after which her long ball set up Rose Lavelle's header onto the post in the 45th minute. But she started second half with a pair of ineffective crosses. Abby Dahlkemper was marking Stina Blackstenius on the Swede's first goal (albeit it was a difficult cross to defend), ball-watched on the second, and lost track of Lina Hurtig on the third. Crystal Dunn's tackle on Sofia Jakobsson prevented a close range-range shot in the 30th minute, her highlight during a first half in which she gave plenty of space to Jakobsson to cross on the Swedes' first goal. Dunn missed a chance to interfere with the buildup on Sweden's third goal. Offensively, Dunn gave up the ball often with misplayed passes. Early on, Becky Sauerbrunn cleared a couple Swedish crosses. 

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit) 141/2 (32)

Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns) 189/0 (36)

Abby Dahlkemper (Man. City, ENG) 72/0 (28)

Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns) 117/24 (29)


Rose Lavelle hit the post on a close-range header late in the first half. She combined her failure to beat Swedes one-on-one with horrendous passing. Sam Mewis' offensive cameo in the first half ended with a pass to nowhere, and she was subbed at halftime. A clear sign of how dour a day it would be for the USA was the ineffective play of the usually reliable Lindsey Horan, non-existent offensively -- besides a smart pass to Megan Rapinoe with a quick free kick from midfield in the 71st minute -- and defensively unable disrupt the Swedes. Besides the midfield's poor passing, they also looked slower than Swedes. 

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Rose Lavelle (OL Reign) 57/14 (26)

Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns) 99/22 (27)

Sam Mewis (NC Courage) 77/23 (28)


Alex Morgan headed wide from close-range in the 10th minute, passed to a Swede on her next possession, then disappeared. The center forward was replaced at halftime. Tobin Heath's dribbling skills failed her when she got the ball in penalty area in the first half,  and was subbed after 14 minutes of futility in the second half. Christen Press stayed on the entire game despite her aimless crosses. She hit the post from four yards in the 70th minute with an open net and headed to the keeper while unmarked in stoppage time. The inept play of the frontline served as a reminder that much of the forwards' pre-Olympic success came against low-quality backlines.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Tobin Heath (Unattached) 172/35 (33)

Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) 181/110 (32)

Christen Press (Unattached) 150/62 (32)


When she came on at halftime after an injury break since May, Julie Ertz's first touch was an aimless boot, and she over-hit her next pass that should have been an easy connection to the wing. Her two fouls within a minute late the second half indicated a lack game fitness. Megan Rapinoe tried to beat the keeper in the 69th minute from near the goal line with no angle instead of feeding one of a pair of open teammates. She did better a couple minutes later in a similar situation when she fed Press. But Rapinoe fell short of providing the off-the-bench boost expected from a superstar, as did Carli Lloyd, who had first shot blocked, headed to the keeper, and headed wide on a Tierna Davidson delivery. Davidson also won a tackle in the U.S. penalty area and sent a precise cross in stoppage time to Press.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Carli Lloyd (Gotham FC) 307/126 (39)

Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars) 111/20 (29)

Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign) 179/59 (36)

Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash) 27/4 (30)

Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars) 35/1 (22)

TRIVIA: The loss ended the USA's 44-game unbeaten streak. Its last loss came in a 3-1 friendly defeat to France in January 2019.

July 21 in Tokyo
USA 0 Sweden 3. Goals: Blackstenius 25, 54, Hurtig 72.
USA -- Naeher; O'Hara, Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Dunn (Davidson, 80); Lavelle (K.Mewis, 80), Horan, S.Mewis (Ertz, 46); Press, Morgan (Lloyd, 46), Heath (Rapinoe, 64).
Sweden -- Lindahl; Glas, Ilestedt, Bjorn, Andersson (Rodder, 88); Angeldal (Bennison, 75), Seger; Jakobsson (Janogy, 75), Asllani, Rolfo (Schough, 63); Blackstenius (Hurtig, 72).
Yellow cards: none. Red cards: none. 
Referee: Yoshimi Yamashita (Japan)
Att.: behind closed doors.

Shots: 13/17
Shots on target: 5/9
Saves: 6/5
Corner Kicks:3/9
Fouls: 10/10
Offside: 4/2
Possession: 52%/48%
27 comments about "USA-Sweden Women's Olympics Player Ratings".
  1. Santiago 1314, July 21, 2021 at 8:39 a.m.

    "0"s for Everyone.!!!
    I was afraid of this...Reposting:

    Santiago 1314, July 5, 2021 at 9:26 p.m.

    I mean, We really have 2 teams that are Better than 99% of Opponents... let's hope we have One that can beat Sweden.!!!... Go USA, JUST WIN BABY, WIN.!!!

  2. Santiago 1314, July 21, 2021 at 8:43 a.m.

    I don't usually Repost other people; But Frank got it Exactly Correct, FROM THE LAST TIME WE PLAYED SWEDEN.!!! Franks Overseas on Vacay, So, I'll Post for him... Remember this is from April 10th.!!!
     frank schoon, April 10, 2021 at 5:18 p.m.

     US soccer players have problems in small spaces and under pressure. The Swedes took it to us, not giving the US team time with the ball. It caused many of our players with their backs facing downfield lacking an offensive views. Furthermore we had no midfield, often we were outnumered 5v2 or even 6v2,3....On the sides we were outnumbered at times 4v2. And because we were outnumbered at mid, we would often see long ball going up front from backline....

    Horan did not look dominant in the first half for she ended up on the flanks at wing. Horan is a 'combinational' type of player who needs players around her to be effective, but finding herself alone on the flank in the opponent's third shows you her lack of speed, quickness or acceleration.
    In addition ,Horan was to forced many times to run back to her own third which further incapacitated her. 

    There was no penetration on the wings ,especially on the left side. I was not impressed with Dunn. Once an opponent goes at her ,not given her time, shows her limitations. Ertz likewise was ineffective and slow and plays in one tempo and rarely ,perhaps not any, ever comes to the ball but waits for it. I thing it is time for Lavelle to take Ertz's position for she is much more dynamic, can change the pace better as well as play better defense on the midline.

    I've never seen so many bad passes either landing into empty space with noone around or just went to the opponents. I found the Swedes were better in passing in small groups and spaces and were confident in doing so. The US team lacks that ability and relies on 'turbo' ,running into open space.

  3. Wooden Ships, July 21, 2021 at 8:52 a.m.

    Agreed Santi. Sweden could have had 4 or 5 in the first half. Tough watch, but Sweden was a fun watch. The team better improve dramatically or they will get knocked out early. I don't know, could it be that some just aren't into it? I mean many are ashamed of the Red, White and Blue. I'm ashamed of their shame. Probably a good thing I'm not managing.

  4. Santiago 1314 replied, July 21, 2021 at 10:54 a.m.

    Oh Wooden, Now you gonna make me RANT.... 
    Hope I don't get "Cancelled".!!!!

    Now we know why we had “Warm-Up” games versus Mexico, Jamaica and Nigeria, and Portugal .... WE ARE OLD... We got “woMAN HANDLED”... Out Played, Out Competed, Out Classed, Out Coached
    SYSTEM FAILURE ...For Years; The College and Pay-to-Play System has been “Beating” the Individuality OUT of our Female Players, While Euro Pro Teams are Developing Solid Business Like Professional Players ... Did you see any Great Individual Ability from Sweden.??? NO, Just Athletic and Organized and United.
    Julie Foudy said; “Don’t Panic, the Team will Bounce back in The Manner that is in Their DNA.”
    Our "DNA" has Crumbled....
    So, Now we are going to find out what these “Woke” Girls are Made of... All you have Left is the American Fighting Spirit... But, When you have Spent the Last 2 Years; Attacking your Federation, Country, National Anthem and Flag... IS IT STILL IN THERE.???
    Fight FOR Your Country, Sing your National Anthem, Put your Hand Over Your or Put your Head between your Legs, and “Kiss Your A$$ Goodbye”

  5. frank schoon replied, July 21, 2021 at 2:12 p.m.

    Santiago, I agree with you....

  6. Santiago 1314 replied, July 21, 2021 at 3:02 p.m.

    Over your HEART.!!!.

  7. Wayne Norris, July 21, 2021 at 9:07 a.m.

    This US team is complacent as there was virtually no competition for spots as the "club" has been locked up for years. Also US has been to used to playing "Amature" teams like Nigeria and Mexico which makes it hard to evaluate weaknesses. 

    Teams like Sweden are younger, more battle tested (recently) and highly motivated.....

  8. Santiago 1314 replied, July 21, 2021 at 4:03 p.m.

    We Definitely need to do away with the Current Women's CBA and give them THE SAME DEAL as the Men... Watch them Squeal when there its No Year-Around Contract and Health Benefits.

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, July 23, 2021 at 9:42 a.m.

    Think about what you are proposing Santi. You would gut the support for the NWSL, which will put us further behind Europe. Like that is a solution?

  10. Santiago 1314, July 21, 2021 at 9:20 a.m.

    One more of my Old Posts:

    Santiago 1314, June 11, 2021 at 12:30 p.m.

    Doesn't look like we Currently have a Carrin Jennings-Gabarra, April Heinrichs, Tobin Heath, ... Crazy Legs Players who can Single Handily Break Down a Wing ... Gonna be a "Slog" to the Gold Medal, with this Group, but; "I BELIEVE THAT WE CAN WIN.!!!"

  11. Bob Ashpole, July 21, 2021 at 9:49 a.m.

    I didn't watch the second half at all, just the first half. 

    It appeared to me that the WNT took a step back in time to play a 1980's style. Not very well either. They looked to me to be in a 442, and a very flat 442 at that. Not at all like how they won cups in 2015 and 2019.

    Despite the loss, I am not shaken. The USWNT still control their own destiny.  

  12. Santiago 1314 replied, July 21, 2021 at 10:57 a.m.

    Definitely a 433, but Heath got so Frustrated that she was coming back into Midfield to get the Ball

  13. R2 Dad, July 21, 2021 at 10:58 a.m.

    Is it possible Valtko is sandbagging here? How is it possible to have so many players all performing so poorly?

  14. Santiago 1314 replied, July 21, 2021 at 8:41 p.m.

    I'm Afraid that "The Emperor has NO Clothing" and He is about to be EXPOSED.!!!

  15. cony konstin, July 21, 2021 at 2:24 p.m.

    The chickens have come to roost. I have been saying this for several years. Our women are playing in the same play to pay model that our boys are in. It doesn’t work to create monster players. We need radical change. We need 600,000 Futsal courts so players can develop their skills naturally. This isn’t rocket science or brain surgery. The kids need to have a sanctuary where they can experiment and take risk 24/7/364 without any adult interference, no cost and get to compete by playing Queen/ King of the court. We have no street soccer in America but Futsal can become our version of street soccer and we need it now. 

  16. Peter Bechtold, July 21, 2021 at 3:07 p.m.

    Interesting comments all. Here's another: The USWNT were quite good about 20 years ago, but recently they have become a team that OVERPOWERS weaker opposition. Even during their title runs they rarely OUTPLAYED their opponents from among the top dozens. Of course, they have no opposition within CONCACAF; not their fault per se.But why do they line up "Little Sisters of the Poor" as opposition in friendlies, and "Victory Tours" ?
    The Swedes play like female versions of their male NT. So do the Germans, Brazilians, the Dutch, the French and a few others. The USWNT is still composed of players from the White suburbs--one exception supports the rule here--raised by "Soccer Moms" handing out orange slices and water bottles. This works against the Thailands, New Zealands and a few others, but not real challenges.And who coached them, then and recently?  Did you see Brazil today?

  17. Santiago 1314, July 21, 2021 at 3:14 p.m.

    Amen to that Cony... for the Women... But, What is the "Secret" to all these NEW Young Players that are showing up for US Men Team all the Sudden... Pulisic, Reyna, Busio, Dest, Aaronson, Sands, Vines, ... Sure i'm missing a few that went to Mexico or El Salvador.. I hope somebody is doing a "Research" Paper on them... Rinse, Lather,  Repeat... Como tu has Dicho: It Ain't Brain Surgery.!!!

  18. Wayne Norris, July 21, 2021 at 3:37 p.m.

    The US Women's development model is still what has been proven obsolete for then college.....

    Women overseas are getting more into a traditional European men's model and supplemented by the men's sides (Chelsea, Lyon, etc).....bad news for USWNT in future as many of the NWSL are stand alone with very limited budgets.

    The future looking bright for women world wide (great!!) but questionable for US.

  19. Mark Landefeld, July 21, 2021 at 4:44 p.m.

    It is very unfortunate for the USWNT that, after significant travel, their first opponent might be their toughest of the tournament.

    I think I'll wait until game 2 before looking for the panic button.  I don't really think we're as slow as feared and with a greater determination to take the game to the opponent, they might very well find their rhythm.

    And after all, would anyone expect two bad games in a row from Dahlkemper?  Everytime I saw Naeher's face, it seemed to say "I haven't seen that out of Abby before ..."

  20. uffe gustafsson, July 21, 2021 at 7:59 p.m.

    You just got beaten by a better team.
    that Swedish team have younger players that just now getting into their prime, shouldn't be a surprise to all of you.
    the red white and blue comments have nothing to do with what happens on the field. So keep that to yourself, Swedish women players feel the same as usa players about pay and racism. If you noted none of this is happening in women's soccer only in men's soccer.
    but it sure was a whooping.
    and love every minute of it.
    though it's just the first round so much can change.

  21. John Sabala, July 22, 2021 at 3:14 a.m.

      To All,
    The woman's team was just outplayed and outcoached.  I place a majority of the blame on Coach Andonovski.  The team did not look prepared to hand the 3-4-3 or many times like a 3-3-4 press the Swedes put on the US.  Anyone scouting the Swedish team knows this team does not sit back in a 4-4-2, but is pressing and attacking.  This was a page from Jill Ellis playbook of super high press to turn possesion over in the attacking third or midfield for an immediate counter attack.  These players have the technical skills needed and most have played together for years.  The feel of the game was the USWNT just needed to show up to win and not have to actually play.  Everything was so slow and commend the Swedes for never letting off for 90 minutes.  An opening game of the tournament, age is not a factor at this time, so lets not use that one just yet.  Our lack of coaching ability may have been exposed in this game as this is Andonovski's first tournament.

    As far as player selections, I commented before that the only player that should not have been on this roster is Tobin Heath. Anyone who watched the game can now see why this is the case. Too slow, unable to attack players one on one with any speed and her holding onto the ball just goes further into breaking rythm in the flow of play, which the US could never establish. If your are going to play in the frony line you have to be able to outrun the backline of the defense.  Heath cannot do this anymore. Looked like USMNT of just kicking the ball long and hoping for a miracle.  

    Tactically, we lost the midfield battle trying to dribble through defenders versus passing quickly to change the point of attack.  If we play Sweden again, which is quite possible, we may need to play a 3-5-2 or a 3-4-3 in a better attempt to win the midfield battle.  We shall see what happens.  Great comments by all.

  22. Philip Carragher replied, July 23, 2021 at 6:38 a.m.

    JS, I'm going to take a moment and speak specifically to what I believe is the main issue at hand with the team's shortcomings: their previous training. How is it that some of these plalyers arrive at this level and not have impeccable technique? First, generally, our heading technique is way below where it should be. Torpedo heading. Taking their eyes off the ball. Yikes. Back to the basics on that. Sweden displayed excellent heading technique. How can our US coaches tolerate such poor technique? Unexcusable. Tobin Heath, now with Man U., how come a great striker hasn't pulled her to the side and helped her improve her scoring? Her first shot on goal came with an extra touch. At this level, goals sometimes are decided by how quickly a striker can settle and shoot. She spends too much energy trying to place the ball just so for her right foot. Also, how about a left foot? Twice she had left footed opportunities yet kept forcing it back to her right. Again, who's been coaching her? I suppose her coach could insist she use her left foot which probably would get used if she worked on it. And its not that hard to work on and improve. I thought this was these players' profession, so coaches, treat them professionally. With some tweaking Heath could become an impactful player and, at this level, a 3-5% improvement in these details can add up to goals. And everyone needs goals. As to comments about these players not trying, ugh. They're trying. And I don't agree with anyone who thinks Carli Lloyd shouldn't be out there. She still has it.

  23. Fajkus Rules, July 22, 2021 at 4:01 a.m.

    There really is little excuse for players who are in the middle of their club seasons to show up this poorly on just the basics of passing, ball control, spacing and dribble vs. pass choices.  One would think that those items shouldn't be a problem for players with the experience levels of the USA.  Age should only slow them down a bit, at this point, not make them play less intelligently or affect their skills.

    Athletes are going to find that it's very difficult to maintain "woke" values when they are diametrically opposed to competition, excellence, and team/family values which all contribute to WINNING.  So maybe this is karma or a higher power taking away their favored status, just like the historical downfall of every successful civilization that became too prideful in their success.

    Thos who don't want to learn from history, or want to tear it down or destroy it, THEY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT. 

  24. R2 Dad, July 22, 2021 at 11:24 a.m.

    Not understanding Vlatko's substitutions. Ertz is coming off injury, and he puts her in at the half? Davidson for Dunn in the 80th minute? It's not possible he didn't know Sweden would press and our back line are not good ball-handlers. Did he just figure that out?

  25. E Velazquez, July 22, 2021 at 1:02 p.m.

    USA played the entire first half with only 10 players . Mrs. Morgan was absent ; it looks that she ought to retire from international competition , doesn't she ?

  26. Karl Sonneman, July 22, 2021 at 1:17 p.m.

    In US the game is seen as physical: who is fastest afoot; stongest; or has quicker synapsises.  The mental part of game is diminished (not unlike anti-intellectualism found here).  Sweden showed quickness of thought where US had momentary hesitancy after receiving a ball about where to go next.  Commentary sees this as slow  or non-aggresive play but in Europe this is understood as quick or instinctive thought.  Klinsmann talked about this both in coaching Germany and in US, but we are required to dismiss him as not American enough.  Sweden has enough good, fast, athletic players with sound technical skill to keep up with US, but yesterday clearly handled the mental part of the game better.
    Now for the hard part.  Australia only needs to draw the US to finish second in the group.  A second draw with Sweden and the US cannot catch it.  A loss by Australia against Sweden then determines the second place tean by goal differential.  Then the US needs to make up a three goal difference against New Zealand, which is not impossible but also not assured.  While the US may see better probabilities on remaining tie breaks, none are certain for the US.  This certainly was not predicted before the Games began.

  27. uffe gustafsson replied, July 22, 2021 at 5:54 p.m.

     Not predicted? They just meet each other just a few month ago and US came out lucky w a tie.
    I give that the whopping of 3-0 might not been predicted but to think that US would win I will question.

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