<
>

Women's soccer result a first for the U.S. -- but not one it wanted

The U.S. was expected to advance from the quarterfinal against Sweden. Celso Junior/Getty Images

Sweden’s elimination of the United States on Friday came in an Olympic first: No women’s soccer game had ever gone to penalty kicks. But the result continued a couple of painful trends for Team USA.

In its Olympic history, the United States has now lost in regulation or has been eliminated on penalty kicks three times. All three times, the opponent has been from Scandinavia.

The U.S. lost 2-0 to Norway in the 2008 Olympic group stage and fell 3-2 to Norway in the 2000 gold-medal match.

Friday’s result means that the reigning Women's World Cup champion has still never won Olympic gold.

In a reversal of a trend, the result marked the first time the United States has failed to reach the semifinals of a major tournament. The 2016 Olympics represent the 13th such major tournament (also including Women’s World Cup).

Looking at just the Olympics and excluding the Women’s World Cup, the United States had reached the gold-medal game in each of its five previous appearances.

Sweden gets first score

Stina Blackstenius got Sweden on the board with about 28 minutes left. Entering the match, the U.S. was 4-1-0 at the Olympics when conceding the first goal. The loss came in 2008 against Norway.

Alex Morgan tied the score for the United States, and that it was Morgan who delivered an important goal shouldn’t have been a surprise. Friday’s goal meant that four of her last five goals at major competitions have been game-winning or game-tying goals.

Morgan, with five, is tied for the third-most goals in U.S. Olympic women’s soccer history, behind Abby Wambach (nine) and Carli Lloyd (eight). Mia Hamm and Tiffeny Milbrett also had five.

Entering the game, the U.S.’s record in 14 previous extra-time games was 8-1-5, with the 2000 gold-medal game against Norway the only blemish. (Games that go to shootouts are officially draws, so the 2011 Women’s World Cup final is not officially a loss.)

According to FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index projections, the U.S. had a 79 percent chance to advance.

Sundhage knows the U.S.

The United States is winless in its last four games against Sweden (0-1-3). All four games have been since Pia Sundhage -- who led the U.S. to gold medals in 2008 and 2012 -- became Sweden’s head coach.

Sweden has never medaled at the Olympics in women’s soccer. Sweden has made the semifinals for the second time, the other coming in 2004.