• Saturday Aug 13, 2016

    U.S. women speak on Olympic setback

    USA players (pictured) react after falling in the penalty shoot out to Sweden in the Women's Olympic Football Tournament on August 12, 2016 in Brasilia, Brazil. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)

     

    BRASILIA, Brazil -- As Sweden celebrated its stunning upset over the defending champion on Friday, U.S. women’s captain Carli Lloyd could not believe what had just transpired.

    For the first time in six Olympic competitions, not only was the four-time gold medalist going home without a medal, it was eliminated for the first time before the semifinals.

    "It's always hard to swallow losing in PKs. Yeah, I mean it's going to hurt," said Lloyd. "We've got to hold our heads high. This team is not going to crumble. We're going to just work that much harder. It's been a busy couple of years. That's why no one has won back-to-back."

    The current CONCACAF champion was trying to become the first team to win the FIFA Women's World Cup and Olympic gold in consecutive years. The Swedes, however, had other ideas. After finishing 120 minutes of regulation and extra time even at 1-1, they prevailed in the shootout, 4-3.

    Striker Alex Morgan, who scored the USA's lone goal before missing the first penalty kick in the tie-breaker, was gutted.

    "Really just heartbroken right now for the girls and the federation,” she remarked. “It's unfortunate. I feel like we were prepared, but so were Sweden. I felt today could go either way."

    Goalkeeper Hope Solo probably was the most upset American.

    "The best team did not win today," she commented. "I strongly and firmly believe that. Sweden dropped off. They didn't want to open play. They didn't want to pass the ball. They didn't want to play great soccer."

    Much of Sweden's success will be credited to head coach Pia Sundhage, who guided the Americans for five years and directed them to Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012.

    "They played more attacking football then we did. We defended very well," she concluded. "And the fact that there were only two goals and it went to penalty kicks said something about our defending. The U.S. played better in the attack, we played better in the defense."

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