The U.S. Women’s National Team extended their unbeaten run to an impressive 43 games before finally facing defeat, falling 1-0 to Sweden on Friday. Lotta Schelin put in the decisive goal as Sweden collected six points to move top of Group B in the Algarve Cup.
It was former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage’s side that delivered the fatal blow. To make matters worse, Sweden’s victory knocked the USWNT out of the Cup, a tournament which they’ve won nine times in eighteen attempts. With just one game left, the Swedes currently lead the group, while the U.S. has just one point, from their opener against Japan. Their final game, set for Monday, March 10, is against Denmark.
The U.S. were without Alex Morgan, sidelined with an ankle injury, but Abby Wambach looked ready to cause Sweden trouble. When, in the 17th minute, Amy Rodriguez was brought down inside the area, it was Wambach that stepped up to the spot. But Swedish ‘keeper Hedvig Lindahl guessed correctly, pushing Wambach’s shot past the post.
Less than ten minutes later, Sweden put in what turned out to be the decisive goal. Sofia Jakobsson won the ball from Ali Krieger, putting the cross in for Schlein to head on past Hope Solo.
The streak may have come to an end, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. The last time the USWNT lost was in 2012, before the start of that year’s Algarve Cup. This particular result might be favored by fans of poignant story lines, as it was Sundhage herself that was in charge of the U.S. Women’s team at the time, and the side that they beat was – you guessed it – Sweden.