STOCKHOLM — The 16-match winning streak of the U.S. women’s national soccer team was snapped in a 1-1 draw with Sweden on Saturday.
Lina Hurtig put Sweden ahead off a set piece in the 38th minute of the exhibition match before Megan Rapinoe’s penalty kick pulled the United States even in the 87th.
The draw extended the U.S. team’s unbeaten streak to 38 games. Rapinoe’s goal was her sixth this year, which leads the team.
Rapinoe, who is on the roster of Tacoma-based OL Reign of the National Women’s Soccer League, said the scare from the fifth-ranked Swedes will help the Americans as they prepare for the Olympics this summer in Tokyo.
“Even throughout the whole game, I was kind of thinking, ‘This is exactly what we need.’ We didn’t play well. We were very sloppy. Tactically we needed to be a lot better, and just individually,” Rapinoe said. “But those are the games where you kind of have to dig in.”
The top-ranked Americans have not lost a match since January 2019, when they fell to France. Their 16-game winning streak was the third longest in team history.
The U.S. team travels to Le Havre for a match against third-ranked France on Tuesday.
“I think that this is — I wouldn’t say one of the best things to happen to us, but something that is very good for us,” U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “In fact, that’s why we came here. We came here to play good teams. We came to Europe to play opponents to get exposed to the different tactics, high-level tactics, organized teams, to try to overcome all of that.”
Carli Lloyd wore the captain’s armband for her 300th match with the national team. The only other players to appear in 300 or more games for the U.S. team are Kristine Lilly (354) and Christie Pearce Rampone (311).
The Swedes shocked the Americans in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympics, advancing on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Sweden went on to play in the final in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but fell to Germany.
In Tokyo, the Americans will seek to become the first women’s team to follow a World Cup victory with an Olympic gold medal.
The Olympics will present difficult challenges, Rapinoe said, and the ream must get better at adapting.
“It’s going to be games where physically we’re not at our best because we’ve just played, or it’s really hot, or a team switches up tactics, or we’re just not playing well that day,” Rapinoe said. “So I think individually, but really sort of collectively, we need to be able to understand what’s happening in the moment very quickly and adjust. We can’t just play one way all the time.”