Australia’s Kyra Cooney-Cross (3) and USA player Rose Lavelle (16) fall to the ground during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium. (Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

While many U.S. soccer fans across the USA woke up early to watch the U.S. women’s national team against Australia early Tuesday morning, the American squad slept walked through the match en route to an uninspiring scoreless draw in Ibaraki Stadium in Ibaraki.

In an unexciting and unenergetic performance by both sides, particularly in the second half, the USWNT and Matildas played to a rather boring scoreless draw in Group G action of the Olympic soccer tournament.

The result secured second place for the uninspired USA squad, which finished the group stage at 1-1-1, as did Australia. The Red, White and Blue took the runner-up spot to Sweden (3-0-0), by goal differential. It was the worst opening round performance by an American side since the competition was added to the Summer Games in 1996.

Since a draw would put both teams into the quarterfinals, the game became slower as time rolled on.

The USA will play the Group E winner Netherlands Friday. The Dutch blanked New Zealand Tuesday, 2-0.

“We came with the mindset that the first goal was to win the game and the second one was to put in a good, professional performance,” USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski said.

“It was a great test for us today to see that the players can execute the game plan very, very well, so whatever we feel like we need to do to win the (next) game, we’re going to present it to them and then let them do their job.”

The Americans will need to pick up their play if they have any chance of winning a fifth gold medal.

On Tuesday, it seemed the Americans and Aussies signed a non-aggression pact for the second part of the final half there was so little action.

At one juncture, the Australian backline had its own private catch with one another without the USA trying to push up and take the ball away. It was as those the Aussies needed a visa to dribble the ball over the center line.

If there were highlights, they were few and far between.

The USA had a rather unimpressive opening 45 minutes, giving away several set pieces – free kicks and corner kicks near its goal.

Unfortunately for the American women, the defense or goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was able to clear the ball away.

On the other side of the field, Alex Morgan was involved in the USA’s first three scoring opportunities.

In the eighth minute, she found herself on a counterattack and went 1 v 1 with the goalkeeper. Morgan, however, placed her shot right on target for an easy save.

In the 32nd minute, Morgan appeared to have given the USWNT a 1-0 lead with a close-range header but was ruled offside by her left shoulder. It was the fifth USA goal over two matches that was deemed to be offside.

And in the 45th minute, Morgan set up Christen Press, who placed a meet shot on net.

In an attempt to bolster the team’s lethargic attack in the 66th minute ,Andonovski brought on Tobin Heath for Megan Rapinoe and Lindsey Horan for Sam Mewis, who struggled with her passing for most of the game.

It didn’t help.

In fact, nothing did.