The United States women’s national soccer team were stunned in a monumental upset by former coach Pia Sundhage and Sweden, losing in penalty kicks after a 1-1 score line in regulation and extra time.
Hedvig Lindahl stopped Alex Morgan’s opening penalty kick, but Hope Solo saved one to make it level. Christen Press sent the United States’ fifth offering over the goal, and Lisa Dahlqvist sent Solo the wrong way, and the Yanks were eliminated.
Alex Morgan’s 77th minute goal pushed the USWNT to extra time with Sweden after Stina Blackstenius, and nothing could divide the teams before penalty kicks.
The United States was on the front foot from the get-go, with Swedish goalkeeper Lindahl called into action for a big save off an early corner.
An electric play by Alex Morgan near the Sweden end line almost forced the Swedes into an own goal in the 28th minute, but Lindahl again stepped in to allay the threat.
The Americans piled on pressure as the first half neared stoppage time, and both Morgan and Julie Johnston barely missed heading home on a late free kick. 0-0 at the break.
The U.S. had a couple dangerous free kicks to start the second half. A well-drawn play was foiled when Carli Lloyd flubbed her shot wide of the near post, and her second chance flew just over the bar.
The whole thing turned on its ear with a half-hour to play, as Blackstenius raced through the U.S. defense and grounded a perfect finish into the side netting.
Just when hope literally seemed lost, Morgan pulled a goal from nothing. The American striker darted onto a deflected pass and pushed the ball past Lindahl to level things at 1.
Crystal Dunn made a breathtaking run across the 18 to lay off for Lloyd in the 84th minute, but the U.S. star had her shot deflect wide. The Yanks then made a mockery of several chances in the box before Tobin Heath saw a rocket shot saved by Lindahl.
Heath nearly gave the game away from a holding position midway through the first period of extra time, but Mallory Pugh’s hard charge back coupled with a bizarre Swedish offside run thwarted the threat. Morgan worked a chance moments later at the other end, but Lindahl cut down her already-sharp angle.
Lloyd looked to have won it on a terrific cross from Dunn, but was ruled to have pulled down a defender en route to the goal (rightly called). Then Sweden thought it went ahead from an offside position (wrongly called). There’s grey area, but it could’ve been 2-1 for either team or 2-2 (And yes, we understand butterfly effect logic).