DE JANEIRO, For the first time in the history of the Summer Games, the United States women’s soccer team will not medal.
Absolute agony swept over the USWNT after the historic defeat to Sweden in penalty kicks Friday in the quarterfinal round of the women’s tournament at the Summer Games.
Team USA trailed 1-0 after the 61st minute and tied the match on an Alex Morgan score. Both teams had late regulation opportunities, but could not net their tries, resulting in extra time. Referees wiped out the closest calls in overtime. On the American’s best extra time try, it was Carli Lloyd who had a disallowed score. Lloyd appeared to head in the go-ahead goal but the score was waved off for either a foul or offside call. Sweden responded just minutes later when it was called offside for a goal that appeared legitimate.
The highly favored American’s disappointed again in penalty kicks. Morgan had her opening shot denied by Sweden keeper Hedvig Lindahl. Sweden swished all but one of its chances but the Americans could not capitalize, as Cristen Press sailed its final attempt.
“I thought we played a courageous game,” goalkeeper Hope Solo told ESPN’s Graham Hayes after the match. “I thought we had many opportunities on goal. I think we showed a lot of heart. We came back from a goal down, I’m very proud of this team.
And I also think we played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today, I strongly, firmly believe that.” Sweden faces either Brazil or Australia in a semifinal matchup.
“I’ve won and lost a lot of games in my career,” Solo told Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl. “And not all wins have been pretty. Sometimes it’s just finding a way to win that matters the most and tonight Sweden found a way to beat us. Nevertheless, I am so proud of the way we played tonight, our fight, our heart, and the skill we showed. Things don’t always go the way you want them to. Such is life, and such is sport.”
The United States earned 12 medals Friday, to improve its total count to 50 medals at the Summer Games.
Katie Ledecky became only the second woman ever Friday to win gold medals in the longer freestyle events at one Olympics. Ledecky matched Debbie Meyer by winning the 200-, 400-, and 800-meter freestyle races in Rio de Janeiro.
Her 8:04.79 in the 800 set a new world record. Meyer set her prestigious mark at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
“I hit all my goals right on the nose this week,” Ledecky said, according to ESPN.
Ledecky and Michael Phelps each have five medals to lead all athletes at the Summer Games. Each American athlete has won four gold medals and one silver medal.
Team USA swimmer Madeline Dirado and Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu each have won four medals in Rio.
Phelps picked up another medal after finishing in a three-way tie for second to Singapore’s Joseph Schooling in the men’s 100-meter butterfly final.
Anthony Ervin won a gold medal in the men’s 50-meter freestyle final. Ervin’s American teammates Nathan Adrian won a bronze medal in the event, while France’s Florent Manaudou placed second.
Dirado won the women’s 200-meter backstroke final. She beat Hungary’s Hosszu and Canada’s Hilary Caldwell in that event.
The United States placed third in the dressage team grand prix special. Germany took the gold medal in the event with a score of 81.936 and Great Britain won a silver medal with a score of 78.595.
American Steve Johnson lost to Great Britain’s Any Murray in the men’s singles quarterfinal 0-6, 6-4, 6-7.
Nico Miguel Hernandez won the bronze medal in a men’s light fly boxing [46-49 kg] semifinal after losing to Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov.
Kimberly Rhode won a bronze medal for the United States in the women’s skeet shooting bronze medal match.
Diana Taurasi hit four 3-pointers in the United States’ 81-51 thumping of Canada in preliminary play of Group B.
The men’s basketball team had its second consecutive close game, edging Serbia 94-91 in preliminary play of Group A. Kyrie Irving scored 15 points to lead the Americans. DeAndre Jordan scored 13 points, while Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, and Paul George each chipped in 12 points for the Americans. Team USA led 50-41 at the half but was outscored 50-44 in the second half.
Team USA’s Carlos Zenon Balderas Jr. beat Cuban Lazaro Jorge Alvarez in the men’s light boxing [60 kg] quarterfinal.
Brady Ellison beat the Netherlands’ Sjef Van Den Berg in the bronze medal match of men’s individual archery.
Madison Keys faces Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova at noon Saturday in the women’s singles tennis bronze medal match.
Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram also face off against India’s Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna in a mixed doubles tennis semifinal in the third match on court one.
By Alex Butler