Carli Lloyd (10) battles for the ball with Sweden defender Nathalie Bjorn (14). (Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Network)
There is something to be said about not bringing a ridiculously long winning or losing streak into a major tournament, soccer or otherwise.
In 2007, the U.S. women’s national team boasted a 51-match unbeaten streak that was snapped in a devastating 4-0 loss to Brazil in the Women’s World Cup semifinals. That devastating defeat, plus questionable and controversial coaching decisions (replacing Hope Solo with Briana Scurry in the net), eventually cost Greg Ryan his job within a month of the competition.
On Wednesday, the USA was thumped by Sweden, 3-0, in its Tokyo Olympics opener, ending a 44-game unbeaten ride.
The fate of the Americans and head coach Vlatko Andonovski at the rest of the tournament remains to be seen.
Here are some interesting tidbits and facts, as researched by U.S. Soccer
* The USA’s record against Sweden stands at 23-7-12 and 1-1-1 at the Olympics.
* It was the USWNT’s first defeat under Andonovski, who is 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. Ironically, his first win came via a 3-2 victory over Sweden in 2019.
* The Americans were blanked for the first time 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 Solo for the second-most Olympic appearances in USWNT history.