Olympics: USWNT's mysterious disappearing act

The beauty of sports is its mystery.

How do you explain the collapse of the U.S. women's national team at the Tokyo Olympics?

It was eliminated from gold-medal contention on Monday night when it fell, 1-0, to Canada. And the thing was, the defeat was not a surprise, even against a team the USA had lost to just three times in 61 meetings and not once in 20 years.

"Heading into this game," said Canada captain Christine Sinclair, "we kind of had a feeling they were ripe for the picking."

Sinclair knows a thing or two about the USA. She has been around so long that she scored the winning goal the last time Canada beat the USA when they met at the 2001 Algarve Cup.

But how did the USA go from a team that had not lost a game since January 2019 and never lost under head coach Vlatko Andonovski to a team that has just one win in five games in Japan and will finish with its worst record at a world championship no matter the outcome of the bronze-medal game.

There were warning signs all spring and through the first 10 days of the Olympics, but always just enough to grasp on to and believe the USA would still reach its goal and advance to Friday's gold-medal game in Tokyo. Instead, it's back to Kashima on Thursday to face Australia for bronze.

The first blemish in Andonovski's tenure -- after 16 wins -- came in April when it took a fortunate penalty call late in the game for the USA to earn a 1-1 tie in Stockholm.

“If we play the way we played today," Andonovski said. "It’s not good enough. And I know that. Nobody has to tell me that."

Still, nobody would have expected the rematch July 21 in Tokyo would be Sweden 3-0.

If Andonovski was looking for a reaction from his players after the Stockholm game, he got it three days later in Le Havre, where the USA beat France, 2-0. Les Bleues were missing many of their big stars because of a Covid-19 outbreak at Lyon, but they were coming off a very good win over England, 3-1.

That victory at the Stade Océane, site of the USA's last defeat in January 2019, was enough to keep the USA as firm favorites at the Olympics.

Still, signs emerged during the tune-up series played in June and early July that all was not well. The USA won all five games -- 1-0, 4-0, 2-0, 4-0 and 4-0 -- but should have blown out its weak sparring partners. In particular, Megan Rapinoe, the USA's leading scorer in 2021, and Alex Morgan, excellent against France, both played very poorly throughout the tune-up series.

Still, there were enough bright spots to believe the USA would still dominate in Japan. Christen Press was on fire, Lindsey Horan adapted well in place of the injured Julie Ertz at the No. 6, Sam Mewis was coming off a Best XI Women's Super League season at Manchester City, and Tobin Heath was back with goals in her first two games with the national team following a seven-month layoff.

The USA also got a break when the IOC confirmed that the Olympic rosters would be expanded from 18 players and four alternates to all 22 players eligible for selection on each game's 18-player roster. If any problems cropped up in Japan, Vlatko could always dig deeper.

Rapinoe and Morgan, the USA's two biggest stars, never regained their form. But Press, Horan, Mewis and Heath all underperformed. The USA's bad form was contagious and spread throughout the team. "I think, maybe Alyssa’s the only one who's performed close to her ability," said Rapinoe after the Canada game.

That the USA even reached the semifinals was in large part due to goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, whose save on Lieke Martens' penalty kick kept the USA-Netherlands score tied at 2-2. The USA then won the shootout over the Dutch when Naeher stopped two Dutch shooters.

The USA played its best half of the tournament in the first half against the Dutch when it took a 2-1 lead. After she set up the first goal and scored the second goal against the Netherlands, you might have figured that Lynn Williams -- originally picked as an alternate -- was the insertion of new blood the USA needed -- and has always been the winning formula for its championship teams. But she was invisible against Canada.

Another bright spot had been Tierna Davidson, who started against New Zealand and Australia, and returned to the starting lineup after Abby Dahlkemper, one of the best two-way defenders in the world, had another shocker defensively against the Dutch.

It was just the USA's bad luck that Davidson conceded the penalty that decided the semifinal.

In the end, Rapinoe said the players have no one to blame but themselves for their poor performances.

“We can deep dive into analyzing," she said, "but there’s all the preparation and analyzing you can do and all the tactics – and then there’s everything else. You can’t put a name on everything else, but that’s what we were missing."

"Everything else."

Sports' great mystery!

USA-Canada Photo: Kishimoto/DPPI/Icon Sportswire

61 comments about "Olympics: USWNT's mysterious disappearing act".
  1. Santiago 1314, August 3, 2021 at 3:59 a.m.

    I'm going to take Bob's Advice... Forget about it, and Move On...

  2. frank schoon replied, August 3, 2021 at 10:08 a.m.

    You shouldn't forget about it and analytically look and study what happened, to see what went wrong. If we don't know what went wrong we'll continue doing the same crap, over again. There needs to be RESOLUTION and perhaps that will initiate changes in how we play or develop.

     Statements like replacing the coach, replacing young for old, 'we just got to win' isn't going to do it.....

  3. Santiago 1314 replied, August 3, 2021 at 11:33 a.m.

    Frank, you are Correct.... I should have put a Note in there about my Comment being Sarcasm.... But, I have been Traveling also... Planes, Trains and Automobiles.!!!...
    To NOT Take the Problems of.The Women's Program Seriously would be Sexism at its Highest.!!!
    Heads should Role, Coaches and Executives should LOSE THEIR JOBS Over This.!!! As they did with the Men.
    Let's see "Equity" at Work NOW.!!!

  4. frank schoon replied, August 3, 2021 at 11:59 a.m.

    Sorry , Santiago, I interpret it wrong...Just got off the plane yesterday,LOL. My head is still a little woosy.....I hope you are enjoying your vacation...

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, August 4, 2021 at 12:21 p.m.

    What bothers me is how quickly people give up on the USWNT. They still have the bronze medal match, but here we are performing an autopsy before the patient has died. Not one SA article about tonight's match.

    The only thing clear to me is that expectations for the USWNT are so unrealistic that they are absurb. 

    Keep my comments in context. I have for years been hoping for an evolution in style for the USWNT. I even lamented that the 2015 and 2019 wins would work against any change in the program.

    The bottom line, however, is that this is essentially the same group of players that won the world cup in 2019. I think that replacing Jill Ellis and April Heinrichs with Ernie Stewart and company has set the program back. But honestly, I don't know any coach that is Jill Ellis's equal today. I don't know if Vlatko is up to coaching positional play, but I am convinced that Jill Ellis was. Very few coaches in the world actually coach positional play or are a better coach than Vlatko. That doesn't mean that I could wish for one. Maybe Mexico will be stupid enough to fire Tata :)

    Really the problem is not the USWNT coach. The problem is bigger. The problem is USSF living in the past. The USWNT program has enjoyed the benefit of the finest women's coaches in the world, but USSF today thinks it knows better.

  6. John Bauman, August 3, 2021 at 6:18 a.m.

    Perhaps if they were more interested in competing for the couintry who sent them there instead of taking a knee for a group who wants to overthrow thier coountry, worrying about thier pay, etc.  they might return to being the team that once was.

  7. Robert Fredrickson replied, August 3, 2021 at 7:26 a.m.

    Well said. They need to shut up and play ball!! Enough with that political stuff!!

  8. George Miller replied, August 3, 2021 at 9:12 a.m.

    Agree..every blog, facebook, twitter, conversations with neighbors etc wanted the privledged ladies who complained abouth most tolerant country in the world, who played countries who would of jailed them for speaking out to do it elsewhere and rep the country proudly and just play

  9. Santiago 1314 replied, August 3, 2021 at 11:47 a.m.

    They "Went WOKE, and BROKE"...
    With all the Discussion of Athlete Mental Health(Biles-Osaka)... How can the Mental Health of Our Women's Team be any Different... All Kinds of Distractions and Division... Can't wait for Mandis Book on: "WHAT HAPPENED TO THE USWNT.???"

  10. Jack DiGiorgio replied, August 3, 2021 at 11:52 a.m.

    Fantastic statement John. You couldn't have been more specific and truthful. 

  11. Donald Lee replied, August 3, 2021 at 1:30 p.m.

    Lets examine facts.  The only attempt to overthrow the government has been Donald Trump and his supporters.  BLM only wanted to improve and reform our government which is as American as apple pie -- it is why America is great.  In some cases their protests went too far -- but none of them were aimed at overthrowing our government.  To claim so is to lie.

    I happen to agree that our ladies whom we should all support have gotten off-track by demanding well beyond equity.  They deserve equity, but negotiated themselves into their own situation.  I also think they have let themselves become too political rather than proud to represent all of America, wart and all. 

     But your statements Sir are just plain foolish.

  12. rick jacobsohn replied, August 3, 2021 at 2:18 p.m.

    Your remarks about their political stances are useless and driven by your own pointless bias. This is the same group that has practiced hard and performed brilliantly for a long time. They can handle controversy. 
    They were defeated by a combination of pandemic-interrupted training, injuries to key players, and a lack of direction and vision by the Coach and Federation. Failing to put youth and more energy into the mix was a fatal flaw. I agree that Heath, Rapinoe, Lloyd and Morgan all showed their age. And by the way John, your spelling needs work. 

  13. Santiago 1314 replied, August 3, 2021 at 3:15 p.m.

    @Donald Jr... "EQUITY" is what you Build Up in your House... When you Misuse the Term "Equity" in a WOKE Manner, If REALLY Means you want to Take from Someones Hard Earned Money and GIVE IT to someone that DIDN'T Earn it... That is the True Intention of the BLM Inc. Founders...(Self Described Communists)
    "Equity is the amount of capital invested or owned by the owner of a company. The equity is evaluated by the difference between liabilities and assets recorded on the balance sheet of a company. ... This account is also known as owners or stockholders or shareholders equity."

  14. Santiago 1314 replied, August 3, 2021 at 3:31 p.m.

    @Rick... Are you Seriously saying that the WOT had NO "Mental" Distractions from their "Woke" Actions.??? That their Constant Lawsuits, Manifestations and Lack of "OPEN" Patriotism didn't have a Negative Impact on their Overall Mental Health and Desire to Compete for their Boss(USSF) and Their Country(USA).??? .... The Olympics is the Height of Country vs Country National Sports Representation... As someone who has had the Chance to Sing the National Anthem Representing US Soccer at an Olympics, I can tell you it is a Motivator....But NOT to Many on this Team... To them it was a DOWNER... They should have been Belting out the Anthem Loudly and Proudly and it would have been worth (1) Goal a Game.!!! 

  15. Bob Ashpole replied, August 4, 2021 at 12:34 p.m.

    What utter nonsense. The USWNT along with essentially every other official and team took a knee prior to kick off to protest racial injustice. John it sounds exactly like you are a supporter of racial injustice. Or do you just oppose women's sports in general.

    I see all over the internet liars saying that the WNT knelt during the National Anthem at the 2020 Olympics. Worse yet people who don't actually watch the matches believe the liars. (If you watched the match you would see both teams and the officials kneeling during 10 seconds set aside for it immediately before kickoff.) The WNT as a group decided to stop kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 because of the negative public criticism. The Olympic committee doesn't allow any political gestures during the national anthems or medal presentations.

    I had really hoped that I would see this garbage on SA. 

  16. Bob Ashpole replied, August 4, 2021 at 12:36 p.m.

    sigh. "would not see". I type too fast when I am angry.

  17. Bob Ashpole replied, August 4, 2021 at 12:41 p.m.

    Santi, I will take your ridiculous criticism quietly when you start applying it to the MNT too. I don't sing during the national anthem because quite honestly I may be the world's worst singer at best and most of the time I can't sing at all.

    I have 35 years of service. Anyone questions my loyalty better not do it to my face. That is fighting words.

  18. Santiago 1314 replied, August 4, 2021 at 11:11 p.m.

    Bob, Thanks for your Service... You a JAG.???... My Son is Currently a JAG
    I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
    What do you think about CRT, and it being taught to US Soldiers.???... Why would we allow CRT, which teaches that The Constitution is a Founding Fathers  "White Man's" Immoral Document that should NOT be Relevant,  Much Less Defended.!?!?!?... We ask our Soldiers to Die in Defense of The Constitution, but Put Doubt in their mind by Teaching them CRT... Hard to "Die on a Hill" for something you don't Believe In... That is the Same Problem I see with the WNT... They dòn't Believe in their, Federation, Flag, Anthem, Constitution... Hard to "Die on The Field" for something you don't Believe In... The Men, Didn't  Kneel (EVER) during the National Anthem....Cannon(and now you know why he is on my "C" list) is the only one that knelt during Dallas FC game... I dòn't have a Problem of Kneeling,  Before or After Anthem, To raise awareness of Racial Injustice(I have NO Tolerance for Racists).... I Would have a Test for everyone that wants to Represent US Soccer... Can you sing the National Anthem,  Will you put your Hand Over Your Heart and Face the Flag during the National Anthem.??? TEAM Unity is Crucial.!!!... Be it Army or US Soccer.!!!

  19. Santiago 1314 replied, August 4, 2021 at 11:49 p.m.

    P.s. Donald Jr... 600 charged so far in Capital Break-In, Rioting... NOT a Single one for attempting to "Overthrow" the Govt.!!!... How many Charged In Target Break-Ins, Nike Looting, and Burning Down Wendy's.???

  20. Perry McIntyre, August 3, 2021 at 6:56 a.m.

    Turn the page - time for new, younger players, whose focus is the game and a 'team first' approach to it.

  21. Wallace Wade, August 3, 2021 at 8:40 a.m.

    Don't care about the kneeling, don't care about the snide comments regarding their Male counterparts, don't care about any of the political stances. Don't care about the legal wrangling.  The fact that these players engaged in all of this, while continuing to pull on the jersey and cash the checks speaks volumes. If they were really interested in systemic "change" and "equality" they would have come together as a "team" to send a message to the Federation. They chose to look out for number 1

  22. Santiago 1314 replied, August 3, 2021 at 11:42 a.m.

    Wallace, They DID come together as a Team.!!!.... They(as of this moment-Appeal Pending) SUED THEIR BOSSES, With a Frivolous Lawsuit, Released a Movie, Bashing the Federation, and instead of Taking a "Settlement" Offer. They Filed an Appeal...ALL while Preparing for and During the Olympics... We'll it Backfired... The USSF is to Blame for Letting them "Get Away" with it... Try Protesting YOUR Boss, AT Your Work Place.!!!.... Pink Slips would be Flying SO FAST, your Head would Spin,  like Linda Blair.!!!

  23. frank schoon replied, August 3, 2021 at 12:01 p.m.

    Santiago, can you imagine if we coached the WNT....There are going to be so many changes, leaving their heads spinning...

  24. Santiago 1314 replied, August 3, 2021 at 3:16 p.m.


  25. Bob Ashpole replied, August 4, 2021 at 12:49 p.m.

    You guys should stick to soccer. No boss in the country is allowed to fire someone in reprisal for making a Title VII claim.

  26. Santiago 1314 replied, August 4, 2021 at 11:58 p.m.

    Bob, I don't follow your Lawyer Logic on TitleVII.???... They wouldn't be Hired or Fired on basis of any of the aspects of Title VII..."Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin."
    Actually USSF is in Violation, because we Discriminate against Players that don't have US Passport.

  27. Philip Larkin, August 3, 2021 at 9:08 a.m.

    Team has decisive leadership supported by the media. Shut up and play! Take a lesson from the men's team Gold Cup final.

  28. Johan Aarnio, August 3, 2021 at 10:36 a.m.

    Totally agreed. I stopped watching and supporting them. Many others I know as well.

  29. R2 Dad, August 3, 2021 at 12:24 p.m.

    Nothing yet from Vlatko on how it went wrong, so I'm going to give it a stab. The players didn't want to or could not play well Vlatko's strategy, which was a spread out 4-3-3 against Canada's compact diamond in midfield. But given how the team was not firing on all cylinders, he should have considered something more than just personnel changes. For example, 4-2-3-1 means less distance per pass (theoretically), more difficulty for Canada to play between the lines, less Ertz running. If the argument is that the US is just going to counter-attack so it's OK to bypass midfield, I want Valtko fired yesterday because that's what reactive, lame coaches do, espcially when given the talent, the huge pool of players, the money and media exposure that the USWNT has at their disposal. When our front line became non-productive, he should have had a plan B at the very least. Swapping Ertz for Horan was just a bandaid and didn't change the dynamic. Also, bringing back two starters fresh off injuries, straight into tournament play was poor decision-making, as if he didn't have options. Lastly, Macario would have given the team fresh legs and a technical edge anywhere he played her, yet she wasn't even dressed for the bench. Vlatko went all-in on seniority instead of quality and youth at an international tournament and laid an egg. I don't know how USSF hog-tied him with NWSL players (or not), since there is always more to it than the public story. But now we need generational change, a strategic change and different player filters/scouting from what we've had until this point. If USSF wants to give us more of the same, USSF needs new management. I don't want our women playing like it's the 90's anymore. Spain & France are now more technical, Sweden more physical. More of the same ensures mediocrity. The only upside to the Olympics is no Victory Tour for 2021.

  30. Michael Whalen replied, August 3, 2021 at 2 p.m.

    Thanks for actual analysis rather than political gibberish. When you compare what Berhalter did with the MNT this year and what Andonovski did with the WNT the liabilities of VA are glaring. His strategy of going into the games with older players that needed to be swapped out like hockey lines was terrible and never let the team find it's rhythm, which led to indecision, which led to poor touches, etc. But for me, the real miscues were once the tournament started. His inability to make in-game or between game adjustments is glaring. He never strayed from his "plan" and that's why he needs to go. The fact that he can't figure out why his team played so poorly says it all. There were so many options for him. Want to say in a 4-3-3, play Horan as a 9 (she did that earlier in her career) and have Mewis, Lavelle and Ertz in the midfield (and get your best players on the field at once)... or simply by Macario in as the 9. Morgan is a terrible 9, Lloyd can't play effectively for more than 20 minutes. But your idea of a 4231 is better. Why he didn't use Sonnet, who plays as a defensive mid too, along with Ertz in this type of role is beyond me. And why not bring in K. Mewis, who was one of the more effictive players in the warm-up games? Her energy, strength and attacking abilities would have really helped.  He just seemed incapable of seeing the game in front of him and making adjustments.... the exact opposite of what Berhalter did so wonderfully.

    We need to bring in someone with international experience.... someone like Hege Riise. Or Gustavsson, or Neville and Rapinoe, Lloyd, Morgan need to retire now. Give them one send off game (along with Saurbrunn & Ohara) and move onto the young talent in the pipeline (there's plenty).

  31. Santiago 1314 replied, August 3, 2021 at 4:14 p.m.

    Maybe a FAREWELL TOUR is in Order...
    I think Part of the Problem for this Group is what I will Call "VAMPIRISM"...
    Being Social Media "Wokeys"  They Feed OFF the Energy of their Fans...
    These Players were NEVER All that Great, in Comparision to Previous Generations of WNT.
    Like some "B" Movie Horror Vampires, They Feed Off the Medis attention and Screams of Little Girls in the Stands.
    They can't Generate their Own Enthusiasm, Passion or Energy because they Hate their Flag, Anthem and Bosses.
    And with NO Fans in the Stands, They had No One to Sap the Energy Out of.!!!

  32. Santiago 1314 replied, August 3, 2021 at 9:35 p.m.

    Michael, I am still waiting for that List of Up and Coming Players that are Better than our 30 somethings... Name-Teams Please... Anyone.???

  33. Bob Ashpole replied, August 4, 2021 at 12:58 p.m.

    Few people appreciated the genius of Jill Ellis while she was the coach. Few appreciate her even now. No one was better at getting the best out of a team. But then to be fair to Vlatko, she didn't have Earnie Stewart telling her how to do her job.

    Personally where I think everything derailed was when the USWNT played defensive soccer in the last group match instead of playing to win. I think that was a huge mistake.

  34. Robert Ray, August 3, 2021 at 12:26 p.m.

    The WNT used to be a soccer team with a single goal and mission.  It has become a political tool of the progressives in the USSF.  Not sure about the coach selection but his team selection was horrible.  How did Rapinoe (won't play any D, slow, lazy and not invested) make the squad?????
    If the USSF made him take her, why did he play her??  Way too many old (but politically correct) women make the team.  Many of the players on this squad should NOT BE ALLOWED to where the US Crest on their jersey!  Many of them would rather burn the flag than have to look at it and consider our National Anthem as HATE SPEECH.  I felt (and feel) so sorry for Becky, Julie, Rose, Tierna and Carli for having to share the pitch and dressing room with political appointees!

  35. Bob Ashpole replied, August 4, 2021 at 1:01 p.m.

    From your comments, it is clear that you don't actually watch the matches.

  36. Wallace Wade, August 3, 2021 at 12:45 p.m.

    Santiago....You have any insight into the USMNT fight with the Federation over pay? Copa America 1995. What did they do as a team??? Kinda puts things into perspective doesn't it????

  37. Santiago 1314 replied, August 3, 2021 at 4:38 p.m.

    Wallace, 95 men where Fighting for "ANY" kind of Money they could get back then... We used to get $100 a day per Diem, AND That was IT.!!!... No Bonus Money... NADA.!!!... And We LOVED Singing our National Anthem, with Hand Over Heart.!!!
    These Women players are all Well Educated... Do they REALLY NOT get that they have a Better CBA than the Men.??? Year Round Salary, Health Benifits, Child Care Expenses.!!!
    I think they got Manipulated by Some Players and other Lawyers into this Scheme to "Bilk" the USSF for Millions.
    So, either they are Lemmings or Complicit in their own undoing.!!!.... "There's a SUCKER Born Everyday"
    Either way, They had No Passion to play for each other or The Country.

  38. Bob Ashpole replied, August 4, 2021 at 1:06 p.m.

    Santi, you make the same apples and oranges comparison that others do. USSF is both the club and NT employer for the women, but only the NT emplyer for the men. To compare compensation apples to apples, you either have to pull out the women's club compensation or add the men's club compensation to the comparison.

  39. Santiago 1314 replied, August 5, 2021 at 12:10 a.m.

    Bob, Both Unions Negotiated seperate CBAs,(The WNT was actually Offered the same Deal as the Men)... Later the Women wanted to get the Same "Game Bonus" Package as the MNT; ON TOP of their WNT Guaranteed Year Round Salary, Health Benefits,  Child Care Stipend... Something The Men DON'T Get.... That's why their Case was "Thrown Out". They wanted the Apples and The Oranges and The Icing On The Cake.!!!

  40. Kevin Leahy, August 3, 2021 at 12:53 p.m.

    I do believe the coach did not make the adjustments that, were needed for his team and I do question the selection of so mant old timers. I don't care how fit you are, you can't do the same things in your 30's that, you could in your 20's. Messi's game has changed over time. Do you think Lloyd's header off the post might have been a goal six years ago? She has a resume second to none but, I wouldn't have even rostered her, Rapinoe & Morgan. Possibly one or two more. The rebuliding shoud have started after the last WC. This team will be hard pressed to compete in the next WC because of the delay in the rebuild. It doesn't help that, these players know how to apply their own kind of pressure on the system. 

  41. Bob Ashpole replied, August 4, 2021 at 1:16 p.m.

    You are making generalizations which should not be made. Althletic performance varies by individual. After 30, a coach can't take for granted that player performance will be maintained. You have to determine it year by year. But there are many athletes that continue to perform at a high level well into their 30s. Carli Lloyd is the poster child for the over 30 athlete. She won the FIFA player of the year in 2015 and 2016. Rapinoe won in 2019. (In 2019 Rapinoe was noticably slower and less fit than 2016 but she still was outstanding.) I personally was literally still running circles around college players while in my mid 30s during competive matches. One of the benefits of being a late bloomer is being a late fader. Generalizations don't work for elite athletes. They are all exceptional, not normal, by definition.

  42. Peter Bechtold, August 3, 2021 at 2:57 p.m.

    PK asked: How do you explain the collapse of the USWNT in Tokyo ?
    Many answers available: 1.How do you explain Germany's MNT collapse in Russia at WC '18; many parallels in fact ,from ageing players to HC unwilling to adjust. 2. As some have HINTED: The USWNT has not been good for quite some time. Playing minnows in preparation and on "victory tours" does not help, but creates complacency. I have coached/played on 3 continents and I have felt all along that the Women are among the top five in the world now, will soon be among the top ten, but the dominance is over. Be clear-eyed and remove the Red/White/Blue lenses if you want to help. How so ?
    3. The USWNT have been overprivileged since the 1980s when Title IX set in(passed in 1972) and colleges started giving soccer scholarships, so HSs started girls soccer and it built slowly. No other country has this system of HS/College sporting teams in regular leagues. Remember that at the WC in France '19, fully 20 of 23 Canadian women had played college soccer in the USA under the Title IX program. This is systemic and has nothing to do with Coach A,B,C or D.(or USSF).
    4. But the HS and College soccer teams were coached by whom ? (Come in here, Frank S.) A few competents like Anson Dorrance but 85-90 % rather unqualified to coach. I have seen this first hand; they basically teach running as if soccer were cross country, and "booting the ball" upfield as if it were rugby or American football. Our women kept winning b/c of lack of proper opposition except Germany, China(early), Japan briefly and Norway/Sweden and Canada. This means that they have been among the top six where they still are. Now that Chelsea, Man.U. and City and Arsenal, and Bayern and Barcelona and Real Madrid have decided to field teams under properly qualified coaches, WATCH OUT !
    5. Professional soccer has been a huge challenge: In Europe clubs are exstatic if they get more than 5 K paying spectators. Same in the US except for the Portland Thorns who play under quite special conditions, if you know what I mean. (I live in Portland now).
    6. Do we have players like Mia Hamm or Michelle Akers or Julie Foudy among other deserved names ? Not really. Of the half dozen who went To England's Super League this Spring, only one got regular playing time. Conclusion: The current team has been overhyped and became the "face of the Olympics" along with Simone Biles--a true fantastic star--and a close examination of their 4 WC titles will show that at least 2 should have an asterix attached. No, their "popularity" has also a lot to do with non-soccer issues that we could elaborate on, but these issues may play well with the media, but won't help the women win against the increasingly better competition.

  43. frank schoon replied, August 3, 2021 at 3:52 p.m.

    Peter, I can't agree with you more....

  44. Santiago 1314 replied, August 3, 2021 at 4:24 p.m.

    Peter,  I actually Agree with you for once...Well said.!!!

  45. Bob Ashpole replied, August 4, 2021 at 1:32 p.m.

    Peter, I don't believe that Title IX belongs on your list. Other nation's take advantage of it too. It is not an exclusive benefit of the USWNT.

    Your criticism of US coaches seems questionable too. You note that Anson Dorrance is acceptable, but he also is the biggest producer of US WNT players. In other words, 95% of college coaches do not produce WNT players.

    No one thinks more highly of Akers and Hamm than I do, but your point is a bit like lamenting the fact that Argentina doesn't have 10 Messis.

    Having said that it I was to make a list it would probably say that we need a combination of unorganized soccer and better coaching and I would also lament that we don't develop women today like Akers and Hamm developed. USSF makes women play on women's teams. When was the last time you saw a girl playing on a boys team? Or girls teams playing against boys teams? We are missing out on huge development opportunities.

  46. Scott Chaney, August 3, 2021 at 3:32 p.m.

    Anyone that plays and knows soccer knows this. The USWNT is too old, too slow, and it showed up big time. They were indeed prime for the pickens per Ms. Sinclair another aged player on her way out. Coach, get younger and faster NOW! And teach the new players how to stand up straight and respect the country that fought for you, died for you, and gave you the freedom to play this beautiful game.    

  47. uffe gustafsson, August 3, 2021 at 6:06 p.m.

    Wow lots of old fogies complaining of political stuff that really doesn't matter.
    what you should focus on where do our National women play?
    all of them play in the national women's league and why?
    simple if you want to be on the National team you play at home. Let's look at Swedish National team most of em play in Germany and Spain as well in England and why is that?
    because those are big men's clubs and have the resources to give the women's teams like real infrastructure to be successful. In USA none of the women's club is part of the MLS clubs but stand alone clubs with very limited resources.
    the starting salary for a women's club is just over $20K who can make a career with that.
    until women's league get to the part of MLS clubs we won't see much improvement.
    just as an example Lyon have made the commitment of equal funding of their men's team and women's team as in training facilities as well coaching and pay.
    why u think Lyon is the top women's club in france for many years. The title XI was probably the best thing for USA women's soccer that gave them equal resources to became what you seen the last 30 plus years.
    if you really want the National team continue to stay on top then let the younger players go to Europe and play on the top clubs without having to worry about not getting a chance to play for National team. Ask christin press she played in Sweden and had to come back to get the chance to be on the National team, that's a fact.

  48. Chance Hall, August 3, 2021 at 6:44 p.m.

    Have to say that commitment and dedication for some players seemed to be missing at this Olympics. Seemed that some players were more interested in politics than love of their country.  Can't imagine the diversion and distraction that caused amoung the team.  It was always a thrill watching all the other countries show their pride and love of country for their national anthems.  And yes, age did indeed paly a factor this time.  Except for Ertz, she played her heart out as always. Still believe the Olympics should be mostly for younger players.  The women should adopt the same rules as the men for the Olympics.  Biggest disappointment was peeno.  Seemed more interested in posing and interviews than playing the game and representing our country.  Sure hope the team looks a lot different for the WWC.  Clock is ticking... 

  49. Arthur Behn, August 3, 2021 at 7:16 p.m.

    I'm not the expert that many of you seem to be, but here's my comment. I agree that the Lloyd's etc. should have been left home. They nnede some enthusiastic youth who know how to score goals. Their out their. I'm not sure about the coaching. He definitely neede to make some adjustments, but I don't think he had the players to do the right thing. Was he pressured to take the senior citizens? Who knows. My only oher comment is that I get real tired of all the political BS in the comments. Let's stick to soccer.

  50. uffe gustafsson replied, August 3, 2021 at 8:23 p.m.

    Yes I'm as tired as you of the right wing comments.
    they always go to that one instead of acctually talking about the game. I guess it's easy to say you suck because you spend 1 minute of kneeling or whatever they get upset about instead of looking at the time invested in preparation and yes sometimes you not at your best but for sure it's not 1 minute of kneeling since just about every team are doing it.
    it's not the political stuff that made them not perform to everyone liking but look who the teams that made the semi finals yes all 3 teams from the same group.
    that should tell u how hard that group was.
    so this outrage is not placed well.
    USA women's team will regroup and keep improving.
    but this venomous comments not only on this news letter but others as well is anti American if you ask me, you support your team in good as well bad. Ask most English club supporters that never had their team win any trophies they never give up hope. Some of you could learn from that.

  51. Robert Ray replied, August 3, 2021 at 10:13 p.m.

    When you are playing for your NATIONS TEAM and you disrepect your NATIONS FLAG & ANTHEM calling you out is NOT POLITICAL.  It's not political left or right, what other Country on this planet would allow their representatives to disrespect the flag and song?  I'll wait for your informed answer and it will be ZERO.  If you took a knee on any other team you'd be banned for life and your teammates and coaches would not even communicate with you.  You would be shunned!

  52. uffe gustafsson, August 3, 2021 at 11:21 p.m.

    Robert have you even watch a game on tv?
    clearly not. Just about every team have taken a knee that incl. EPL teams for the last year, I think England is about as aware as any other country on the disparities of certain people. You obviously not paying attention since the Olympics have given 1 minutes to do what each team feel. And most have done one version of solidarity for oppressed parts of our world that be black n brown people in this country or North Korean people or any other people in this world.
    I really don't get you guys where you come from and I'm not calling you names. But really the beauty of this and many other countries is you stand up for your beliefs not just USA.
    It's  many other countries. Somehow some of you need to open your eyes and maybe travel outside USA and see other countries is no different then USA and do good things.
    this rah rah of USA is somehow the best country in the world is blinding you from reality, there is many great countries not just usa.
    Let's keep this to soccer and not your political views 
    it start to sound like a t...p rally and I for one not want to hear your his name ever again.

  53. Santiago 1314 replied, August 4, 2021 at 7:46 a.m.

    @Uffe... Yes, there are Many other Great Countries in the World, and I have Traveled in MANY of Them,,,,(And Many of the WORST also)... USA is The Greatest in the World... America is EXCEPTIONAL... NO other Country has the Economic, Food, Military, Political, Scientific, SPORTING and Educational POWER that the USA has... No other Country has ALL these things... This is Known as AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM... It gives USA people an Advantage when Dealing with other Countries... Do you not know this.???...In SPORTs, it Gives us a Psycological Advantage... This is why I always say American Exceptionalism is worth (1) Goal a Game....If you Play for the USA and you Don't BELIEVE THIS, or Actually Dispise or Denegrate your Flag, Anthem and Geo-Political system,YOU THROW AWAY YOUR ADVANTAGE.!!! Throw out the Right/Left Political arguments....From a Coaching/USSF perspective, WHY WOULD You Allow people on Your Team that are going to TAKE AWAY YOUR ADVANTAGE.??? Instead of Playing with 12, you are playing with 10....(Yup, my College Degree is in History)

  54. Robert Ray replied, August 4, 2021 at 9:54 a.m.

    You've totally missed my point.  I have NO PROBLEM what so ever with individuals or teams taking a knee in solidarity of something or some movement they believe in!  I think doing that is HONORABLE.  I am speaking about (not a leage, college or professional team) THE NATIONAL TEAM of a NATION/Country purposely showing disrespect for their Nations flag and anthem.  There is a world of difference between what you discribed and what I'm talking about.  I would be fine with and actually very pleased if the USSF would take the (flag colors) US Crest off the jerseys and not display the flag or play the National anthem at matches.  After all I'm pretty sure that our (US) Constitution never sates that there is anything wrong with hating your country!

  55. Santiago 1314 replied, August 4, 2021 at 11:46 a.m.

    To Robert; I do have a Problem with "IT" for the Stated Reasons above... Throw out the Politics of it.... How can you "Fight" at your Utmost, for Something you Don't Believe In..  If you Don't Believe in your Bosses(The are Suing their Boss USSF) and they Don't Believe in the Symbols of Their Country(Flag, Anthem, Constitution)...Then What is the "X" Factor that they have Thrown away, by Holding those Positions.???... In Business, if 25% of your Workforce is Pulling in One Direction and 25% is Pulling in another direction,  and yet another 25% is Pulling in another and Last 25% is Caught in the middle, Sitting on Egg Shells, because they Don't want to Upset any of the Diverse Groups... YOUR COMPANY CRUMBLES FROM WITHIN.. It's Human Nature and Economics ... In The REAL World,  Would any Boss, Coach put up with This.!?!?!?

  56. Bob Ashpole replied, August 4, 2021 at 1:22 p.m.

    Robert, then you are hopelessly outdated. The WNT stopped kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

  57. Bob Ashpole replied, August 4, 2021 at 1:54 p.m.

    Santi, you seem to blame the players for the moral problem. I have a question for you.

    What message did the coach send the players when he had them play a defensive game for a tie in the third group match against Australia, rather than play to win the game and the group?

    For me the message was that the coach did not believe in them.

  58. Santiago 1314 replied, August 5, 2021 at 12:25 a.m.

    Bob, I was the One Advocating for US to play for 1 Goal LOSS vs Australia... Why do you think Australia was ALSO playing for a Tie.???.... Neither Team wanted to play versus Holland... Great Britain was the Easier Path to the Final...(Yup, I actually had my Team MISS Bracket Tie-Breaker Penalty Kicks, at Regionals, so we had an Easier Path to the Finals)... Worked Perfectly, But we Lost to USSF President in the Final...(She Missed her PK on Purpose also....Kinda funny, 2 Teams trying to avoid Dallas/Georgia in the next Rounds)

  59. Robert Ray, August 4, 2021 at 11:58 a.m.

    Santiago--I could't agree stronger.  I wish we'd stop playing the Nat'l Anthem & displaying the (colors) Flag.  We are NOT the U.S. of America any more, rather the DSA (Devided States of America!

  60. uffe gustafsson, August 4, 2021 at 8:55 p.m.

    My final say on this.
    WC in france the USA women's team won beating everyone even though they took a knee so taking the knee didn't make them any less competitive as many say today.
    this time around they got beaten by better teams.
    in france my team Sweden played well but not good enough to beat Holland in the semis and get a shot at USA in the final. Taking a knee have nothing to do with how they perform on the pitch. Sweden have a new coach that seem to play more offensive fotball and have great talent and using it.
    that said I said it in earlier posting that they got players that is playing for the best European clubs that have resources to excel the women's teams. USA don't have those clubs with those resources and the young usa players need that environment to be top players.
    that ought to be the focus of all of you to comment on and not this flag rah rah.

  61. Santiago 1314 replied, August 5, 2021 at 12:37 a.m.

    Uffe, the USWNT did Not Kneel during 2019 WWC in France... Their Boss, USSF, even Passed a "Rule" that anyone Kneeling during Anthem would be OUT of the Team... Rapinoe was OUT for Months, just Barely got back on the 2019 Team, by Taking a "Loyalty Oath"... USSF Board, Unfortunately,  Rescinded that this Last Year...And Now you see why I Blame The USSF more than the Coach or Even the Players.

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