USWNT Jul 22, 2023; Auckland, NZL; United States players Lindsey Horan (10), Megan Rapinoe (15), Andi Sullivan (17), Julie Ertz (8) and Crystal Dunn (19) celebrate after defeating Vietnam in a group stage match in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup at Eden Park. Mandatory Credit: Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports

The United States Women’s National Team has not looked like its usual dominant self during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Now, the team is facing an absolutely massive match on Sunday when they take on Sweden, needing a win to keep their hopes of winning a third consecutive tournament alive.

Beyond their lack of offensive firepower, which can be attributed to injuries and lack of experience, the U.S. women have been missing something present at the 2015 and 2019 World Cups. This is supposed to be the highlight of many players’ careers, instead, they’ve been subject to a litany of criticism from those inside and outside the national team. Sports are supposed to be fun. But that joy that’s encapsulated the world in the past two World Cups is missing.

Perhaps they need to get that back before their pivotal match against Sweden.

“We love this game so much,” U.S. co-captain Lindsey Horan told reporters, via Fox Sports. “We want to play better and to find those little pieces of the joy in the game as well.

“I think once we get that, once we get a little bit more of that joy back and that feeling, things are going to move a little bit better on the field,” Horan continued. “We’re gonna have more rhythm. We’re gonna have more confidence, and things will come. More and more chances will come.”

If the U.S. women can knock off the world’s No. 3 ranked team, despite a lackluster start to the tournament, there will surely be plenty of joy to go around.

[Fox Sports]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.