The United States Women’s National Team has not started the 2023 World Cup off the way we are accustomed to seeing them, as they won their first match against Vietnam 3-0 but have since been able to only pull off a 1-1 come from behind draw against the Netherlands and, early Tuesday morning, played Portugal to a scoreless draw.
That was enough to scrape by into the Round of 16, finishing second in their group behind the Dutch, but for a team that’s been the most dominant in the world for decades, there is a decidedly different feel to this year’s group. There has been ample criticism of the team’s manager, Vlatko Andonovski, for asking them to play a style that seems to run counter to their strengths, but it’s also a team in a transition period with a handful of veterans from World Cups past joining a crop of youngsters trying to figure things out on the global stage for the first time.
The results haven’t been great so far, although they do still have time to turn things around, and it’s not just fans that are frustrated with what’s going on with the team. After Tuesday’s draw with Portugal, the Fox studio crew was rather shocked by the reaction from the team as they were dancing on the field and celebrating moving on, even though they’d done so in unspectacular style. That bothered former USWNT star Carli Lloyd, who ripped the team for celebrating in that manner when, as she said, the player of the match was the post.
The USWNT will wait to find out their Round of 16 opponent and will have five days to try and figure some things out as they won’t play that match until Sunday. In the meantime, there will be plenty of folks breaking down what has gone wrong to this point to lead them to back-to-back lackluster showings, and at least one former star of the team is among those who will be demanding to see a bit more pride in their performance going forward.