USWNT 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Full Preview Guide

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In previewing the United States Women’s National Team at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, one must start with Alex Morgan, the face of the franchise, who I sat down with for an exclusive a few years ago. This was not long after a photo of her in a red Manchester United shirt went viral on social media.
As detailed in my new book, Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,I asked her about that, and Morgan responded by saying she has a soft spot for United because she scored the game winning goal in the 2012 Olympic semifinal against Canada at Old Trafford in extra time.

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That sent the United States through to the gold medal match against Japan. Her goal came in the 123rd minute, the latest goal ever scored by a member of the U.S. women’s team and a FIFA record. While the USA won gold in those Olympics, the most recent edition saw them fall short of medaling.
I also attended one of Hope Solo’s last USWNT media opps, where she lashed out at a reporter for the way he phrased his question to her after a Soldier Field friendly victory, and Olympic tune-up, over South Africa in 2016.
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While she did have a valid point, the thin-skinned way she handled the query was great foreshadowing to the meltdown she would soon have after Sweden knocked them out of the competition and Solo was an extremely sore loser.
An extremely polarizing figure, and deservedly so, she never suited up for club and country again after that. Speaking of polarizing, the last time we saw the USWNT in a meaningful competition, the 2019 World Cup, they wore the villainous black hat as well as anyone, in any sport, in recent years.

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They ran up the score whenever possible and took showboating to a level only matched by a fictional HBO or Showtime series about sports. The final celebration was punctuated by a twerking celebration. You’ve probably seen the Alex Morgan video where she’s doing this “dance move” in the locker room and if you haven’t, well, go hit the search engine and, you will…have opinions when you view it.

All in all, the squad embodied the “ugly American” concept, to a t, but if you don’t want them to show off, well, you then you simply have to beat them. That did happen, in the last Olympics, as the U.S. did not medal. So this Stars and Stripes squad will be out to redeem themselves after that failure. 

They’re also aiming to become the first nation to follow up a World Cup triumph with Olympic gold. There isn’t much left that the USA hasn’t accomplished here, but this is one.

There have been nine women’s World Cups, and the U.S. have won four of them. They have also won four Olympic gold medals, of a possible six, and eight CONCACAF Gold Cups. The first match is Wednesday, against good old friends Sweden, in the middle of the night (our time, normal time in Japan).

Here’s the 18-player USWNT squad for the Tokyo Olympics.

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Tokyo 2020 Women’s Soccer Group Stage Schedule 

July 21
Great Britain v Chile (Sapporo) — 3:30am ET
China v Brazil (Miyagi) — 4am ET
Sweden v USWNT (Tokyo) — 4:30am ET
Japan v Canada (Sapporo) — 6:30am ET
Zambia v Netherlands (Miyagi) — 7am ET
Australia v New Zealand (Tokyo) — 7:30am ET

USA WNT

July 24
Chile v Canada (Sapporo) — 3:30am ET
China v Zambia (Miyagi) — 4am ET
Sweden v Australia (Tokyo) — 4:30am ET
Japan v Great Britain (Sapporo) — 6:30am ET
Netherlands v Brazil (Miyagi) — 7am ET
New Zealand v USWNT (Tokyo) — 7:30am ET

July 27
USWNT v Australia (Kashima) — 4am ET
New Zealand v Sweden (Miyagi) — 4am ET
Canada v Great Britain (Kashima) — 7am ET
Chile v Japan (Miyagi) — 7am ET
Netherlands v China (Yokohama) — 7:30am ET
Brazil v Zambia (Saitama) — 7:30am ET

USWNT CELEBRATING

Yes, that is the entire group stage schedule, and yes it is rather spartan. That’s because a lot countries aren’t even coming, including #2 Germany and #3 France. The USWNT are in Group G with Sweden, Australia, and Australia’s Canada, the nation known as New Zealand. As long as Morgan and company finish third or higher (out of four teams) they’re through to the knockout stages.

Then it’s just win in the quarters and semis, and then a potential gold medal game. There are only 12 teams here, so yes, it is a small, abbreviated tournament. The USWNT are heavy heavy favorites, and ranked #1 by FIFA currently.

USWNT manager Vlatko Andonovski has included stars Becky Sauerbrunn, Julie Ertz, Sam Mewis, Rose Lavelle, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Christen Press, Kelley O’Hara and Megan Rapinoe, in addition to Morgan, in his squad.

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Lloyd and Heath are playing in a record tying fourth Olympics, with only Christie Pearce Rampone having done so before.

The USA is currently on an amazing 42 game undefeated streak. In addition to Lavelle and Mewis, this will be the first Olympics for Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Emily Sonnett, Kristie Mewis and Adrianna Franch.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the  Chicago Tribune.

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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