• Friday Aug 12, 2016

    U.S. women look to boost game for Olympic quarterfinal

    USA's Morgan Brian (right) looks to make a play against Colombia during a Women's Olympic Football Tournament match on August 9, 2016, in Manaus, Brazil.


    BRASILIA, Brazil -- Carli Lloyd, who knows something about do-of-die games in the Olympics, realizes this is the time the United States women need to be firing on all cylinders. 

    The defending FIFA Women's World Cup champion will meet Sweden in the quarterfinals Friday, with the winner advancing to the medal round.

    “This is it,” remarked the U.S. captain. “There’s no saving yourself for anything. We’ve got to win and we’re going to raise the level. I got faith in this team. We can do it.” 

    The Americans will need to lift their game after a 2-2 draw with Colombia on Tuesday in the Group G finale. Goalkeeper Hope Solo allowed two free kicks by Catalina Usme. The first slipped through Solo's hands and legs, while the second came dramatically in the 90th minute.

    "This group is super experienced and we understand that it's the bigger picture," noted midfielder Megan Rapinoe. "Ultimately, we accomplished our goal, which was to finish top of the group."

    The U.S. won't dwell on the past and are only thinking about the immediate future. 

    “We as athletes, we always want to perform well, every single game, but reality is that it’s not possible," Lloyd commented. "I look at this as a positive, as something that we can use to motivate ourselves. We know we can be better. We have to move on and now it’s do-or-die time. We’ll be ready and fired up.”

    Sweden head coach Pia Sundhage, who managed the Americans to their last two gold medals, will try to find a way to block her former team from securing its fifth overall Olympic title.

    The Swedes (1-1-1), trounced 5-1 by Brazil, 5-1, finished third in Group E. They shutout South Africa, 1-0, and played China to a scoreless tie.

    The Europeans were the only opponent at the 2015 Women's World Cup not to suffer a loss to the USA, playing to a goalless draw in the group stage. 

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