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Women’s World Cup: USA, Sweden Play to Scoreless Draw

The U.S. Women’s National Team tied Sweden 0-0 in the second group game of the Women’s World Cup on Friday night.

The Americans again came out shaky in the first half. The players looked totally out of sync at times and everything was slightly off. Touches were too heavy, passes were too short, throw-ins soared over teammates’ heads to the awaiting feet of Swedish players.

Another feature of the first half was the total lack of pressure the USWNT put on Sweden’s back line. If the US  watched Nigeria’s successful tie with their opponent, Australia, they had no intention of following their blueprint.

The second half saw some changes for the Stars and Stripes. Amy Rodriguez came in for Morgan Brian in the 59th minute and Christen Press, who started at forward, slipped back into the midfield. Less than ten minutes later, Abby Wambach, coming off the bench in the World Cup for the first time since 2003, replaced Press giving the USWNT three players in the attack.

Alex Morgan even made a cameo in the 78th minute, coming on for Sydney Leroux, but she featured very little in the play while on the field. Yet, it allowed her to get minor playing time as she recovers from an injury

All of the changes were to no avail. While the second half definitely saw increased play in the Sweden’s half, no one was able to break through and place the ball in the back of the net.

A highlight for US came in the 77th minute of play, when Meghan Klingenberg did her best Hope Solo impression and made a goal line save. The 5’2” defender was able to head a shot up into the crossbar where it then away to safety. Sometimes the best gifts come in the smallest packages.

Also of note, Megan Rapinoe, star of last match with a brace, had a few open looks at goal, but seemed to hesitate and at times lose possession as she tried to dribble around her opponent. Carli Lloyd was involved in a head to head collision with Sweden’s Jessica Samuelsson; Samuelsson came off significantly worse for the wear and sported a bloodied bandage for the remainder of the game. Lloyd, or Samuelsson did not seem to be subjected to any concussion protocol.

The USWNT will be back in action against Nigeria on Tuesday for the final game of the group stage. The tie against Sweden keeps them at the top of Group D, which is where they want to remain after their game against Nigeria.

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