1. Our coach decided to fundamentally change our style of play when half of our roster was built with a different style of play in mind. That’s like expecting the Brazilians to only score in the air and stop playing as quickly on the ball. It’s it’s how they play and you can’t expect them to change that 20-30 years into their soccer development.
2. The best right back in the world was on our bench for 120+ minutes.
3. We had significantly less training time for this Olympics due to commitments post World Cup and although fame and attention shouldn’t make a difference, miles travelled and a changed mindset does.
4. The team and coaching staff has to have felt for a while that we weren’t going to win gold with the way we’ve been playing since Jill decided to change the style of play. That affects the confidence of the players and makes the coaches feel like they have to stick with the experiment to prove that they know what they’re doing.
5. Although I felt they were set up for failure by the coaches, our penalty kicks were sub-par. This game was the classic “underestimating the opponent” result. I highly doubt anyone thought this game would go to penalties so the team probably didn’t spend much time training penalties.
6. Jill Ellis expected a player (Press) who has had to fight tooth and nail for minutes and has had her confidence destroyed to show up big in PKs. You don’t get to constantly make a player feel undervalued and then expect them to have Carli Lloyd-esque confidence at the spot.
I love this team. I love this country. I love this sport. I hate this result. But we pick up, learn from our mistakes and move on. Now the pressure of a squeaky clean record is gone and we can build the future of this team without fear of ruining what those in the past have built.