The U.S. women’s 1-0 victory over South Africa on Saturday (July 9) was a lot closer than it should have been. Credit the South Africans, who played well, especially on defense. But the Americans did their part, too, flubbing chance after chance to put the ball in the net.
A lousy performance like Saturday’s could spell disaster against a strong Olympic opponent. The U.S. women won the gold medal in the last three Olympics. Anything less in 2016 would be a huge disappointment.
(How many Olympians in any sport would consider a silver medal a badge of failure?
Here are five oddities, curiosities, or (possibly) interesting facts about the South Africa game and its participants:
The United States is now 13-0-1 on the year. Twelve of those 13 wins were shutouts.
The U.S. women have never lost in Chicago, the headquarters of U.S. Soccer. Their lifetime record is 10-0-1. In Soldier Field, they’re 6-0-0.
Heather O’Reilly‘s appearance in the 83rd minute may have been her last for the Red,White, and Blue.
Three days after the game, coach Jill Ellis announced her roster for the Rio Olympics, and the 31-year-old midfielder, a three-time gold medalist, wasn’t on it.
O’Reilly made her debut with Team USA on March 1, 2002. She was 17, a junior in high school.
Carli Lloyd made her first appearance since April 10, coming on for Lindsey Horan at the half. Lloyd has been recovering from a knee sprain she sustained for her club team, the Houston Dash.
Crystal Dunn’s game-winner was her ninth goal of the year, second to Alex Morgan’s 11.