OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The United States’ women’s national soccer team suffered a bitter defeat on the field on Monday, effectively killing their chance to win an Olympic gold medal.
Team forward Megan Rapinoe broke into tears during an interview, describing the 1-0 loss to Canada as a “bitter one to swallow.”
The perennially woke athlete made the waves as an outspoken social justice activist off the field in the weeks and months leading up to the Olympics, angering fans of the sport when she was the first member of the squad to take a knee at the USA World Cup last year.
“White people were mad. Whew, were they mad,” said Rapinoe of her actions in her book, One Life, as seen in an extract on The Guardian.
"There's still a medal on the line" – @mPinoe
— On Her Turf (@OnHerTurf) August 2, 2021
According to ESPN, the USWNT fell 1-0 through Jessie Fleming’s second-half penalty kick and will miss out on the gold medal.
“It’s terrible. We just didn’t have it today,” Rapinoe said in a post-match interview. “Just too many errors from us again. I felt like the space was there for us to play and we just couldn’t get into it, too many touches or, you know, an errant touch.”
“That’s football. They got, I think, one shot on goal, a PK, and from what it sounds like it was a PK. So yeah, it’s a bitter one to swallow. Obviously we never want to lose to Canada. I don’t think I’ve ever lost to Canada,” she added.
“So it’s a bitter one,” Obviously there’s still a lot to compete for. That’s what I told the girls and what we talked about in the huddle. It’s not the color we want, but there’s still a medal on the line. That’s a huge thing and we want to win that game, but yeah, this is … this sucks. It sucks.”
The loss is the first time since 2001 that the US women’s national team has been defeated by Canada, putting an end to the team’s 36-game unbeaten streak against the Canadians.
Canadian team captain Christine Sinclair celebrated the victory in the post-match interview, saying it was “nice to get a little revenge” on their U.S. rivals.
“For those of us that were part of the 2012 team [Canada lost to the USWNT in the semifinal after extra time at the London Olympics], it’s nice to get a little revenge in an Olympic semifinal,” Sinclair said, per ESPN.
“I was just sitting there thinking how proud I am of this team,” she added. “It’s a very unique group. It’s a special group and I’m so proud to be a part of it.”
The US women’s team has struggled with disappointments in the matches leading up to the Olympics, which began with a 3-0 loss to Sweden that broke the team’s 44-game unbeaten streak, followed by a scoreless draw against Australia.
Rapinoe told ESPN that she struggles to understand why the team’s performance has not been up to par in Japan.
“It just hasn’t flowed for us. It hasn’t been easy,” she said. “But it just didn’t click for us. I don’t know if it was just roster rotations. I know it’s a tough tournament, trying to save people.
“But our bench is deep, deep, deep as hell,” added Rapinoe. “So I don’t think we can really put it on that. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’ve been thinking about the whole tournament, we just didn’t have that juice that we normally do.”
The US women’s national team will go up against Australia later this week on Thursday to fight over the bronze medal. Australia was defeated by Sweden in the other semifinal.