Megan Rapinoe Jul 30, 2023; Auckland, NZL; United States forward Megan Rapinoe (15) answers questions from journalists during a U.S. soccer press conference amid the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Mandatory Credit: Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports

The United States Women’s National Team did not quite live up to expectations at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, falling in the round of 16, marking the earliest departure in the team’s history at the World Cup. But unfortunately, it seemed like the team was just finding its form when it was eliminated.

The USWNT looked disjointed throughout its first three matches of the tournament. But against Sweden, the team finally looked strong, comfortable and confident – even Megan Rapinoe felt it.

During a recent interview with The Atlantic, Megan Rapinoe made it clear that the team finally started to play up to its potential against Sweden, and had the pretty brutal admission that she wished they’d played that way sooner.

“It felt a lot more fluid. I think we set up more to our strengths and what was going to make us hard to beat,” Rapinoe said. “I wish we’d done that earlier, because we would’ve had more time with it. But obviously, hindsight is 20/20.”

But even though Rapinoe has to come to terms with the fact that the team had the talent to make a deeper run in the tournament, she doesn’t necessarily have regrets.

“Was there a little bit more in the tournament for us? Yes, I think so. But in the end, I think we played as good as we could, and we tried as hard as we could, and sometimes you lose,” Rapinoe said. “It’s hard to win everything. That’s part of life, and that’s a beautiful part of sport to me. I don’t look at it as this devastating thing and a verdict on who we are as players or as a team.”

It’s a hard lesson to learn when you’ve had as much success as the USWNT in recent years.

[The Atlantic]