Opinion: US women aren’t backing off at World Cup as they dominate Chile

PARIS —  Anyone who thought the U.S. women might dial it back or tone it down doesn’t know the U.S. women.

While the final score didn’t look nearly as lopsided as the rout over Thailand, the Americans were no less ruthless in their 3-0 rout win over Chile on Sunday afternoon. Carli Lloyd scored twice, setting a World Cup record with at least one goal in her sixth consecutive game, and Julie Ertz added another with a backward header off a corner kick.

In fact, the only thing keeping this from being another laugher was Chile goalkeeper Christiane Endler, who really should have been named player of the match. She made at least three spectacular saves in the second half, and if you see Christen Press muttering in the next few days, you’ll know why. 

But it does not change the fact that the Americans kept their foot on the gas. They want this World Cup title – bad – and they don’t really care what the rest of the world thinks about them.

The victory qualifies the Americans for next week's knockout rounds, with a Group F game against old nemesis Sweden still to come Thursday. 

The Americans got no shortage of criticism following Tuesday night’s win over Thailand. Some quibbled about the 13-0 score, not recognizing goal differential is the first tiebreaker at the World Cup. But most of the vitriol was directed at the U.S. women’s celebrations.

Carli Lloyd (Photo: Richard Heathcote, Getty Images)

They were over the top, some said. Uncomfortable to watch. Unsportsmanlike. Never mind that the Thailand players and coach didn’t take issue with them, the manners police decided they knew better.

When asked about the controversy, the U.S. women either said they weren’t aware of it or pointed out that they weren’t showing up their opponents but rather trying to include the bench players in the victory. And, indeed, if you actually watched the late-goal celebrations, you’d see they were team-focused and not choreographed stunts.

While there were no late-game celebrations in this match since there were no goals in the second half, Lloyd sent a clear message about the Americans’ attitude and the merciless approach they’re going to have in this tournament. After banging home a bad clearance in the 11th minute, Lloyd hugged a few teammates and then, with a sly grin, gave a small golf clap.

She then ran to the sidelines and slapped hands with all of the bench players.

The Americans are going to play how they want, when they want, and they’re not looking for anyone’s approval. They’re here to win a World Cup title, not a popularity contest.

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