The U.S. women’s national team dropped its second-straight game on Tuesday afternoon. The loss marked the first time in five and a half years the team lost consecutive matches and only the third time in 20 years.
Four days after a 2-1 defeat by No. 4 England at Wembley Stadium, the USWNT saddled up for a friendly against No. 8 Spain in Pamplona. And despite the Spanish side missing 15 players due to a dispute with Coach Jorge Vilda and the Spanish federation, the eighth-ranked team in the world shutout the top-ranked U.S. side, 2-0.
USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski pointed to his side missing key players, too. The statement is true, as several regulars missed the European trip, like Alex Morgan, Mallory Pugh, Sam Mewis, and Kelley O’Hara. But to use that as an excuse is deplorable.
We aren’t talking about a typical run-of-the-mill team. This is a storied roster that boasts star power with a mix of veterans and fresh talent—Megan Rapinoe, Crystal Dunn, Becky Sauerbrunn, Sophie Smith, Trinity Rodman—to name a few.
Still, the team looked lost and flat, not creating many goal-scoring opportunities.
Some point to the physical and mental exhaustion of many players who were wrapping up the National Women’s Soccer League season and coming to terms with the findings of the Sally Q. Yates report that revealed years of systemic abuse and misconduct—verbal and sexual in nature. The report focused heavily on former Facing Louisville coach Christy Holly, former Portland Thorns coach Paul Riley, and former Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames—all coaches of whom a good lot of USWNT members played for.
Either way, Spain’s players who were selected for international duty took advantage in the USWNT’s lapse. Laia Codina took advantage on a set piece in the 39th minute and Esther Gonzalez doubled the score in the 72nd minute on a volley.
Not only was it the first time the national team suffered back-to-back losses since the 2017 SheBelieves Cup (England and France), but it was also the first time the team conceded multiple goals in consecutive losses since March 2001.
The team looks to find chemistry and attacking chances as it prepares for two friendlies against No. 2 Germany on Nov. 10 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Nov. 13 in Harrison, New Jersey.
(Photo: @USWNT Twitter/Cropped)