Three-time defending Olympic gold medalist U.S. fell to Sweden 5-4 in a penalty shootout in the first quarterfinals of the women's Olympic soccer tournament, forcing the U.S. women to make an unexpected early exit from competition.
Julie Johnston returned to the starting lineup for the U.S. after missing the team’s last two matches with a groin strain.
In the fourth minute, Morgan Brian had the first scoring chance of the match as she took a shot at the top of the box that forced Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl into a save.
Sweden responded with some pressure on the U.S. defense through the counter attack, but could not create any concrete opportunities.
There was a brief injury scare midway through the first half after USA's Alex Morgan got in a tussle during a corner kick. She stayed on the ground holding her lower right leg, but eventually got up on her own and stayed on the field.
The best chance of the first half came from Carli Lloyd in the 28th minute. After connecting with a cross from Morgan, her volley went right into the path of Lindahl who knocked the ball away.
At the end of the first half, the U.S. had a distinct advantage in possession, with 64 percent. However, both teams had only recorded one shot on goal.
Lloyd had another scoring chance in the 50th minute after a successful free kick routine with Tobin Heath, but she dragged her shot wide of the goal.
Sweden took the lead in 61st minute on the counter attack. Substitute Stina Blackstenius split U.S. defenders and slotted the ball past Hope Solo.
Following the goal, the U.S. brought on both Crystal Dunn and Megan Rapinoe as the team shifted to a more attacking formation as it looked for the equalizer.
In the 77th minute, the U.S. found its goal off a Sweden mistake. After a poor clearance by Sweden’s defense, the ball fell to Morgan who scored to make it 1-1.
The U.S. peppered Sweden’s goal late on. Lloyd had a shot that was deflected off a Swedish defender and went just wide. Then, Tobin Heath sent a curling shot toward goal by Lindahl made a diving save.
Neither team could find the winning goal in regulation as the teams went into extra time tied 1-1.
The U.S. had the majority of the chances in the first session of extra time, however Sweden again threatened on the counter attack. After Heath turned over the ball at midfield, Sweden had a numbers edge going forward, but could not take advantage.
In the 99th minute, Megan Rapinoe was subbed off for Christen Press. This match was Rapinoe’s second match of 2016 as she continues to work back to full strength from a torn ACL.
In the second session of extra time, Mallory Pugh went off with an injury. She was replaced by Lindsey Horan as the team’s fourth and final substitute. It is the first time at the Olympics that teams are allowed a fourth substitution in games that go to extra time.
In the 115th minute, Lloyd headed the ball into the back of the net, but the goal was called back.
Then just a minute later Lotta Schelin thought she had scored for Sweden, but the goal was also called back.
The teams remained tied after 30 minutes of extra time, resulting in a penalty shootout.
In the shootout, Alex Morgan missed the U.S.’s first penalty kick. Sweden scored on their first two attempts as the U.S. converted its next two chances.
On Sweden’s third penalty shot, Solo prevented the goal to bring the U.S. level after three rounds.
Then, with the teams tied at four goals apiece Press sent her shot over the goal. With a chance to give Sweden the shootout win, Lisa Dahlkvist buried her shot to eliminate the U.S.
It is the first time in Olympic history that the U.S. has not reached the Gold Medal Match of the women’s soccer tournament.
Sweden faces the winner of Brazil vs. Australia in the semifinals on Tuesday, Aug. 16.