It’s not often the USWNT loses.
It’s less often they get shellacked 3-0 for 90 minutes.
Saturday in France, the USWNT lost 1-3 (a stoppage time goal by Mallory Pugh kept it from being a shut-out) to the French national team.
The US never looked to be in control for any significant stretch of time. With the exception of occasional bursts from Christen Press and Mallory Pugh, the French team looked faster, stronger, and hungrier.
Maybe the team missed the creativity and attacking mindset created by recent standouts Rose Lavelle, Megan Rapinoe, and Julie Ertz. Maybe the combination of cold weather and a really engaged 23,000 French crowd caused them to under-perform. Or maybe France is just a better team right now.
Whatever the reasons for today’s lopsided loss, it should serve as a swift wake-up call for a team whose standard is nothing short of a title.
The good news is this is just the first of a 10-game pre-World Cup warm-up schedule for the squad. They have plenty of time to adjust and improve.
The bad news is they seldom look so completely overwhelmed.
The USWNT plays Spain for the first time on January 22nd in the next World Cup warm-up. While Spain is nowhere near the same quality as France, a dominant performance will go a long way to righting the course for their title defense in June. While maybe Saturday’s game wasn’t the result the USWNT wanted, it may prove to be the one they ultimately needed.