(CBS Local) – The USWNT’s Olympic journey got off to a rocky start with a 3-0 loss to Sweden in its opening match on Wednesday. It was the national team’s heaviest defeat since the 0-3 loss to France in the 2017 SheBelieves Cup. The whole team didn’t have much time to find answers or focus on the loss, however, the match. Their next match, now almost a must, will see the team face New Zealand on Saturday morning.
As the team gears up for the second game of the tournament, here are five things fans should know about their opponent, New Zealand.
All time series
USWNT dominated the all-time series against New Zealand, winning 15 out of 17 meetings so far for a 15-1-1 . record. This is the fourth time the two teams have met at the Olympic Games, in which the US won 2-0 in Rio and London and won 4-0 in 2008 in Beijing.
The most recent meeting between the two took place in May 2019 with the US 5-0 victory in the framework of their opening series before the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Carli Lloyd scored a pair of goals with Tobin Heath , Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis join her in the scoring department.
Lloyd and Alex Morgan each have six career goals against Football Ferns.
New Zealand head coach Tom Sermanni spent a year and changed man in charge of the USWNT from January 2013 to April 2014 recording an 18-2-4 record during that time. He also oversaw the first team debuts of many players on the current roster such as Julie Ertz, Kristie and Samantha Mewis, Christen Press, Crystal Dunn and Lindsay Horan. There are many familiarities with the US team from his time in charge of the NWSL’s Orlando Pride.
Three of the New Zealand players are currently on the NWSL’s roster as are defenders Abby Erceg and Ali Riley along with midfielder Katie Bowen.
New Zealand is also looking to win
New Zealand’s opening match also resulted in a loss, leading regional rivals Australia 2-1. While the scoreline seemed closer to America’s 3-0 defeat, the reality was that Australia dominated the match. New Zealand led 16-5, dropped more shots on target 8-3, allowed more corners than 10-1 and lost the ball 60-40.
Australia’s two goals came in the first half by Tameka Yallop (20 ) and Samantha Kerr (33 ) while New Zealand’s goal came in second-half injury time by 20-year-old Gabi Rennie (90′ + 1).
New Zealand Olympic History
This is the fourth consecutive Olympic football tournament that New Zealand has participated in. Their best result before that was in London in 2012 when they reached the knockout stage, beating Cameroon 3-1. They have failed to make it past the group stage in any of their other three appearances.
USWNT in general does not bear losses behind
The loss to Sweden was shocking both in terms of results and the fact that the United States was completely overwhelmed on the field as Sandra Herrera of CBSSports.com noted. If any good news comes from the match, the USWNT usually doesn’t lose two games in a row. The last time that happened was at the SheBelieves Cup 2017 when they lost 1-0 to England and 3-0 to France.
Before that, had to return to the 2014 Algarve Cup when they lost to Sweden (1-0) and Denmark (5-3) in consecutive matches. It is a predicament that the United States, especially this group of players, does not often find itself in. Former striker Abby Wambach made a lot of note on Twitter after the Sweden result.
The last thing I want to be right now is this team’s next opponent. No one puts the baby in the corner. https://t.co/AVk0hi1oVt
– Abby Wambach (@AbbyWambach) July 21, 2021
USA and New Zealand kick off the second game of the group stage on Saturday, July 24 at 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time on NBC Sports Network.