TOKYO (July 21, 2021) -- The U.S. Women’s National Team dropped its first match of the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics falling 3-0 to Sweden in an empty Tokyo Stadium. Despite a spirited defensive effort and some stellar saves from goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, Sweden broke through for the opening goal midway through the first half and added two more after the break to end the second-longest unbeaten streak in USWNT history at 44 games.
The U.S. returns to action on Saturday, July 24 for what is now a crucial second Group G match against New Zealand. Kick-off from Saitama, Japan, is set for 7:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Network, Telemundo, NBCOlympics.com and Telemundo Deportes App.
Sweden, which put in a tremendous overall performance, proved dangerous from the game’s opening kick, earning a number of good chances off set pieces, on the counter attack and from pressing the USA, but Naeher made a number of nice saves to keep things level. In the 25th minute, Sweden broke things open when forward Stina Blackstenius headed home a well-placed service from Sofia Jakobsson.
The U.S. responded almost immediately with a nice attacking combination from Rose Lavelle, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath, but Heath fired her shot wide after threatening near goal. Shortly after, left back Crystal Dunn made an impressive goal-saving tackle in the 30th minute on Jakobsson as she drove towards Naeher in the box.
Sweden held the advantage in corner kick opportunities for the entire evening, finishing with nine to the USA’s three, and converted one of their chances just after the break. Blackstenius netted her second of the night in the aftermath of a corner in the 54th minute.
The USWNT created number of chances down the stretch, with Lavelle launching a beautiful cross-field long ball for Carli Lloyd, who drove down the field but fired her shot off the foot of a retreating Sweden defender in the 61st. Perhaps the USA’s best chance of the night came 10 minutes later, when some great build-up got the ball to the forward Christen Press, but she hit the woodwork from close range.
Sweden’s Lina Hurtig scored its final goal in the 72nd minute to put a cap on the evening. Press had another chance in the first minute of stoppage time, but a nice save from Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl preserved the clean sheet.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
SWE – Stina Blackstenius (Sofia Jakobsson), 25th minute: After threatening throughout the early part of the game, Sweden broke through in the 25th minute. Defender Hanna Glas found Jakobsson on the run down the right flank and she sent a well-placed service into the six-yard box. Her cross found the head of Blackstenius at the near post, who got a step on defender Abby Dahlkemper and put it past goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and into the back corner of the net. USA 0, SWE 1
SWE – Stina Blackstenius, 54th minute: Jonna Andersson served up a corner kick for Amanda Ilestedt, whose header ricocheted off the woodwork. Lurking near the back post, the rebound fell right to Blackstenius, who directed a half-volley into the roof of the net from close range to double Sweden’s advantage. USA 0, SWE 2
SWE – Lina Hurtig (Hanna Glas), 72nd minute: Jakobsson and Glas combined for a nice give and go on the right flank, with Jakobsson sending Glas streaking downfield. Just outside the penalty area, she sent a soaring cross in to Hurtig just inside the six-yard box. A glancing header from Hurtig sailed into the top right corner to cap off Sweden’s scoring. USA 0, SWE 3
The USA’s record against Sweden now stands at 23-7-12 and 1-1-1 at the Olympics.
The loss ends the USWNT’s undefeated streak at 44 games, the second-longest in team history. The run trails only a 51-match unbeaten streak from Dec. 2004 to Sept. 2007.
It’s the USWNT’s first defeat under head coach Vlatko Andonovski, who is now 22-1-1 in his first 24 games (two at the end of 2019, nine in 2020 and 13 so far in 2021).
Andonovski’s lone draw also came against Sweden on April 10 in Stockholm.
It’s the USA’s first game without a goal since July 27, 2017, vs. Australia in Seattle, Wash.
Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, defenders Abby Dahlkemper and Tierna Davidson as well as midfielders Rose Lavelle, Kristie Mewis and Samantha Mewis made their Olympic debuts.
Lindsey Horan and Carli Lloyd are the only two players to appear in all 13 matches for the USA so far in 2021.
Lloyd earned her 17th Olympic cap, surpassing Julie Foudy, Kate Markgraf, Kristine Lilly, Joy Fawcett and Hope Solo for the second-most Olympic appearances in USWNT history.
The loss was the USA’s worst-ever defeat in an Olympic match and largest loss since falling 4-0 to Brazil in the semifinal of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
-U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Women’s National Team vs. Sweden
Date: July 21, 2021
Competition: 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Venue: Tokyo Stadium; Tokyo, Japan
Attendance: Closed Door
Kickoff: 4:30 a.m. ET
Weather: 88 degrees; partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
SWE 1 2 3
SWE- Stina Blackstenius (Sofia Jakobsson) 25th minute
SWE- Stina Blackstenius 54
SWE- Lina Hurtig (Hanna Glas) 72
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 17-Abby Dahlkemper, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Capt.), 2-Crystal Dunn (12-Tierna Davidson, 80); 16-Rose Lavelle (6-Kristie Mewis, 80), 9-Lindsey Horan, 3-Samantha Mewis (8-Julie Ertz, 46); 7-Tobin Heath (15-Megan Rapinoe, 64), 13-Alex Morgan (10-Carli Lloyd, 46), 11-Christen Press
Substitutes not used: 18-Adrianna Franch, 14-Emily Sonnett
Head coach: Vlatko Andonovski
SWE: 1-Hedvig Lindahl; 4-Hanna Glas, 13-Amanda Ilestedt, 14-Nathalie Bjom, 2-Jonna Andersson (20-Julia Roddar, 88); 16-Filippa Angeldal (5-Hanna Bennison, 75), 9-Kosovare Asllani, 17-Caroline Seger (Capt); 10-Sofia Jakobsson (7-Madelen Janogy, 75), 11-Stina Blackstenius (8-Lina Hurtig, 63), 18-Fridolina Rolfö (15-Olivia Schough, 63)
Substitutes not used: 12-Jennifer Falk, 3-Emma Kullberg
Head coach: Peter Gerhardsson
Stats Summary: USA / SWE
Shots: 13 / 17
Shots on Goal: 5 / 9
Saves: 6 / 5
Corner Kicks: 3 / 9
Fouls: 10 / 10
Offside: 4 / 2
Referee: Yoshimi Yamashita (JPN)
Assistant Referee 1: Naomi Teshirogi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Makoto Bonzo (JPN)
4th Official: Anastasia Pustovoitova (RUS)