From Brandi Chastain whipping off her jersey after netting the final penalty in 1999 to Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan each scoring a half dozen goals on their way to a USWNT win in the 2019 Women’s World Cup, the United States has dominated women’s soccer. Sure, there have been some bumps in the road along the way to world domination, but the USWNT has never dealt with something so troubling as a three-game losing streak. In 2022, though, that’s exactly what the squad is in the midst of, and former USWNT players like Carli Lloyd and Heather O’Reilly have some harsh critiques for the team they used to play for.
The USWNT’s historic losing streak and former players’ reactions
When you think of historic losing streaks, surely, you’re thing double, even triple, digit losses mounting up. When you are a team as successful as the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, though, it doesn’t take that many Ls to make some dubious history.
The USWNT is playing some high-level friendlies this fall as the start of their preparation for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
On October 7, the American team lost 2-1 to a tough England squad. Four days later, Spain shut out the USWNT 2-0. Then, a month after that, the German national team beat the U.S. 2-1, and just like that, the team had its first three-game losing streak since 1993.
The loss to Germany (at DRV PNK Stadium in Miami) also broke the USWNT’s 71-game home losing streak. And it infuriated some former team members.
Former USWNT midfielder Heather O’Reilly was one of the first to take to Twitter to bash the current team and manager Vlatko Andonovski.
O’Reilly wrote that she was “tremendously disappointed” in the squad and that the performance vs. Germany was “Simply not good enough in so many regards.”
Of her specific grievances, the winger tweeted, “Let’s start with mentality. Last 30 minutes. Too many allowed crosses in the box and not dealt with well at all. On the flip side, no urgency in the last 5 mins. You are about to lose at home. Get the f****** ball down the field and fight.”
She also took issue with the midfield shape implemented by Andonovski but praised her former teammates Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, as well as 23-year-old Ashley Sanchez.
It wasn’t just O’Reilly who was not happy with the USWNT right now. U.S. soccer legend Carli Lloyd also piled on after the loss.
O’Reilly’s fellow New Jersey native tweeted, “The winning culture and mentality that has carried on from generation to generation within the USWNT have been fizzling away. I said it when I retired. I saw it slipping away. Players have to embody that. That’s been our DNA since the 80s, but not so much anymore.”
The losses and the criticism from prominent former players definitely puts Andonovski on the hot seat. That said, the USWNT still has one of (if not) the most talented teams in the world and should be able to rebound on that fact alone.
In fact, on Sunday, November 13, just a few days after getting put on blast by O’Reilly and Lloyd, the USWNT righted the ship in a rematch vs. Germany at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey. After going down 1-0 in the 18th minute, the USWNT got goals from Sophia Smith (54′) and Mallory Pugh (56′) to win the game and start the next USWNT winning streak at one.