An organized and defensive Sweden side shut out the U.S. Women’s National Team for the first time in a FIFA Women’s World Cup group stage game as the two teams played to a scoreless draw at Winnipeg Stadium on Friday evening.
The Americans’ fifth meeting with the Swedes at a FIFA Women’s World Cup was a defensive affair with neither side generating much in the attack. The result was the Americans' first scoreless draw in 16 years since their dramatic 1999 World Cup final against China at the Rose Bowl.
Both teams canceled each other out until the match finally opened up shortly after the hour mark.
USWNT head coach Jill Ellis inserted Abby Wambach in the 67th minute after initially leaving international soccer’s all-time leading goal scorer on the bench. Wambach needed just five minutes to register her first chance as she saw a header from close range bounce off the turf and just over the Sweden goal.
Although the Americans controlled possession, it was the Swedes who came closest to scoring the game’s only goal. In the 81st minute, Sweden’s Caroline Seger fired a shot toward goal only to see it miraculously cleared off the line by Meghan Klingenberg, and ricochet off the crossbar before being cleared away.
After Sweden’s near miss, the Americans threw numbers forward in search of the go-ahead goal but were unable to register any clear-cut chances.
The USWNT remain atop Group D with four points while Australia find themselves in second with three points, Sweden are in third with two points while Nigeria round out the group with one point. The U.S. will finish group play against Nigeria on June 16 at Vancouver’s BC Place.
If the Americans earn a victory over the Super Falcons they will top Group D. A draw or a defeat could allow Australia or Sweden a chance to move ahead of the U.S. with a victory.