The U.S. Women’s National Team closed out Group G play on Tuesday, Aug. 9 with a 2-2 draw against Colombia at Amazonia Arena in Manaus. The USA out-shot Colombia 16-3, and had a plethora of chances including failing to convert on two breakaway chances, but despite the performance not living up to players’ standards, the result got the job done and the U.S. won its group for a fifth consecutive Olympics. The USA now moves on to the Quarterfinal round and a clash against Sweden on Aug. 12 (12 p.m. ET on NBCSN) in Brasilia.
“The objective was made; we came top of the group,” co-captain Carli Lloyd said after the match. “We as athletes, we always want to perform well, every single game, but reality is that it’s not possible. I look at this as a positive, as something that we can use to motivate ourselves. We know we can be better. We have to move on and now it’s do-or-die time, one game at a time. We’ll be ready and fired up.”
Finishing group play with a less than perfect nine points is not unknown territory for the WNT. Back in 2008, the team lost its first game of the Olympics to Norway, and in 2015, it drew Sweden 0-0 in group play at the Women’s World Cup. On both occasions, the team moved on, got better and finished where they had always intended to be, atop their group and more importantly atop the podium.
“As a player, you expect every tournament to go the same from beginning to end, but that doesn’t happen,” Lloyd added. “Every journey is different and this just happened to be our third game of the tournament. At the end of the day, you find something positive to move on from. I know this team we’ll be ready to fight and ready to play next game.”
A quick 48-hour turn-around between games awaits the USA, which includes a travel day to Brasilia where the WNT will face former coach Pia Sundhage and the opponent that gave them a challenging match during last year’s Women’s World Cup group stage.
“This is it,” Lloyd said about entering the knockout stage of a competition. “There’s no saving yourself for anything. We’ve got to win and we’re going to raise the level. I got faith in this team. We can do it.”
The USA and Sweden will play the first Olympic Quarterfinal on Friday at 12 p.m. ET in Brasilia, followed by China taking on Germany at 3 p.m. ET in Salvador, Canada facing France at 6 p.m. ET in Sao Paulo, and Brazil hosting Australia at 8 p.m. ET in Belo Horizonte.