April 14, 2024

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USWNT coach after rare Mexico defeat: There are no more 'easy games'

USWNT coach after rare Mexico defeat: There are no more 'easy games'

Interim coach of the United States women's national team, Twyla Kilgore, said her team doesn't face “easy games anymore” after a shock 2-0 loss to rival Mexico in a CONCACAF W Gold Cup group stage match on Monday.

“It just shows how far the game will come and there are no easy games anymore,” Kilgore said after the USWNT's first defeat to Mexico since 2010. “If we don't take care of business and don't execute, then it's defeat as expected. We will step up and take responsibility for that.”

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It was only the second time Mexico had beaten the USWNT, and comes after the Americans' disappointing run at the Women's World Cup last summer that resulted in a round-of-16 exit. Since Kilgore took over as interim coach after the World Cup, the USWNT had been unbeaten through eight matches until the defeat to Mexico.

Heading into the match, the United States' lead was lopsided in CONCACAF competition, with a record of 40-1-1.

With Monday's result, Mexico topped Group A with seven points, while the United States ranked second with six points. Argentina ranked third with four points, and the Dominican Republic came in last place with no points.

“I think they had a good game plan, and I think we had a good game plan. Simply put, they executed their plan better than ours,” Kilgore said. “Part of that is intensity but generally it can be measured by things like rhythm of the ball, but also defensive things like winning first tackles and winning second tackles.”

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Mexico's goals – scored by Lizbeth Ovalle and Mayra Pelayo – came early in the second half, an area where Kilgore said her team must improve.

“The first goal came from a goal kick [we] “Maybe he should have taken care of the first ball, he should have taken care of the second ball, he had a chance to finish and then he didn't, and then on the second goal he came from a throw-in,” Kilgour said.

Mexico coach Pedro Lopez remains unbeaten in all competitions since 2023. He said Monday's result was his best since taking charge in September 2022.

“I assume yes because of the opponent,” Lopez said. “I loved [8-0] “I liked the Dominican Republic match a lot, but of course doing it against the United States is special.”

Lopez described his team as a “wolf in sheep's clothing” before the tournament and said he still wanted more.

“Apparently this wolf was seen today,” he said. “But I insist that there will be no benefit for us if we lose in the next match [W Gold Cup] “The quarter-finals and we will go down in history as a team that only defeated the United States in one day.”

Both Mexico and the USWNT have advanced to the quarterfinals of the inaugural W Gold Cup, but will have to wait for the final results from Group B on Tuesday and Group C on Wednesday to find out their next opponents. After Wednesday, the top two teams from each group and the two best third-placed teams will qualify for the knockout stages.

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Following the quarterfinals at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday and Sunday, the semifinals and final will be held at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego on March 6-10.

After the tournament and later this spring, Chelsea coach Emma Hayes will take charge of the USWNT.