USWNT STUNNED in 0-0 With Portugal
The U.S. women’s national team advanced to the Round of 16 at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but not in the fashion they hoped as they were held to a 0-0 draw by tournament debutants Portugal on Tuesday.
In front of 42,958 fans at Eden Park, the USWNT turned in an uninspired performance against a resilient Portuguese side. The result saw the U.S. finish second in Group E behind the Netherlands, who thrashed Vietnam 7-0 to win the group on goal differential.
The Americans came out flat and seemed to lack energy throughout the match. Portugal controlled possession and created better chances in the first half. Portuguese forward Jessica Silva had the best look in the 16th minute but shot wide.
Lynn Williams had two decent chances for the USWNT but sent her headers off-target. The Americans were sloppy in possession and struggled to maintain any rhythm.
Things worsened when Rose Lavelle picked up a yellow card at the end of the first half that will rule her out of the Round of 16 through suspension.
The second half saw a slight improvement from the U.S. as Megan Rapinoe’s introduction added a spark. But Portugal remained organized defensively and kept the USWNT’s prolific attack at bay.
Late in stoppage time, hearts were in mouths as Portuguese striker Ana Capeta got in behind the American defense, rounded keeper Alyssa Naeher, but struck the post to keep the game scoreless.
While advancement was assured, the performance left much to be desired. The USWNT seemed nervous and anxious throughout, a continuation of their uneven group stage play.
Finishing as runners-up means the U.S. will now face Sweden, who beat them 3-0 at the Olympics, in a difficult Round of 16 matchup.
Questions will be asked about the USWNT’s form and mindset heading into the knockout rounds. But they now have four more matches to find their best and make a run at the title. The journey continues, but the Americans must improve after an uninspired display against Portugal.
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