The U.S. women’s national soccer team has been incomparable for decades and invincible for more than two years. Excellence is the expectation in each match and, even if the outcome is not an entertaining victory, it’s often affirmation of the Americans’ iron grip on the sport.
But with the Olympics approaching and vulnerabilities revealing themselves, a fifth gold medal is far from a foregone conclusion.
On Saturday, a 1-1 draw with Sweden at a friendly in the Stockholm suburbs exposed cracks in the U.S. machine. Trailing for the first time in 18 months, the top-ranked team in the world received a favorable call in the waning moments, which led to Megan Rapinoe’s penalty kick that extended its unbeaten streak to 38.