For the first time in 13 years, the U.S. women’s national team is carrying a losing streak.
The Americans fell behind Denmark by three goals in the first half Monday and suffered a 5-3 defeat at the Algarve Cup in Portugal — the most goals conceded in the program’s 29-year history. They completed the group stage at the annual tournament with an 0-2-1 record and will play a placement match Wednesday.
Coupled with a 1-0 loss to Sweden on Friday, the top-ranked U.S. team has lost consecutive matches for the first time since falling to the Swedes and Norway at the Algarve Cup in March 2001. This also marks the longest winless streak in 13 years: the Algarve losses followed by a friendly draw against Canada in 2001.
The defeat to Sweden last week ended a 43-game unbeaten streak, dating back two years.
The Americans had won eight of the previous 11 titles at the Algarve Cup, which brings together some of the best women’s teams in the world for four matches apiece over eight days. While the Algarve is not nearly important as the Women’s World Cup and Olympics, it does provide a tournament format with good opponents. The U.S. team is building toward the 2015 World Cup qualifying tournament this fall at a location to be announced.
Christen Press scored in the 51st minute to cut 13th-ranked Denmark’s lead to 3-1, and after Denmark answered, Sydney Leroux made it 4-2. Megan Rapinoe pulled with the Americans within one with 22 minutes left, but the Danes secured victory with a goal in stoppage time.
DEN: Katine Veje, 24th minute
DEN: Nadia Nadim, 35th
DEN: Nadia Nadim, 39th
USA: Christen Press (Heather O’Reilly), 51st
DEN: Joanna Rasmussen, 62nd
USA: Sydney Leroux (Stephanie Cox), 63rd
USA: Megan Rapinoe (Carli Lloyd), 68th
DEN: Karoline Nielsen, 90+3
Hope Solo; Meghan Klingenberg (Kelley O’Hara 60th), Christie Rampone, Whitney Engen, Stephanie Cox (Abby Wambach 85th); Heather O’Reilly (Megan Rapinoe 54th), Samantha Mewis (Becky Sauerbrunn 62nd), Carli Lloyd, Kristie Mewis (Sarah Hagen 82nd); Christen Press, Sydney Leroux.