By Baran Daliri
Team USA Women’s Soccer brought home the bronze medal after a 4-3 win against Australia following a tough loss to Canada in the semifinals. Five Stanford alums featured for the team during the Olympics and three of them started the bronze medal match, making Stanford the most represented college among Team USA’s players.
Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd led the scoring sheet with two goals each to propel Team USA to victory. Rapinoe scored her first goal in the eighth minute, an Olimpico curled directly into the goal from a corner kick forced by Stanford alum and forward Christen Press ’11.
Australia’s Samantha Kerr equalized in the 17th minute following a defensive mistake by Stanford alum and defender Tierna Davidson ’20. Davidson’s lateral pass to teammate and captain Becky Sauerbrunn was off line and went to Australian player Caitlin Foord, who passed the ball to Kerr for Australia’s first goal.
Rapinoe scored a powerful volley just three minutes later to restore the lead and Lloyd added a goal on either side of halftime to put the team three goals ahead. The Australian team forced pressure until the end, but the lead was enough to secure the medal for Team USA. After Caitlin Foord pulled one back for Australia three minutes after Lloyd’s second goal, Emily Gielnik scored a consolation goal in the last minute of regulation time.
Team USA’s defensive line, including Stanford alums Kelley O’Hara ’10 and Davidson, limited Australia to only four shots on goal. The outstanding offensive performance led to the highest-scoring medal match in Olympic women’s soccer history.
Press, a two-time Olympian, played in all six of Team USA’s games in the 2020 Olympics. She scored her 64th goal for Team USA and assisted Alex Morgan after coming on for Rapinoe during Team USA’s 6-1 win against New Zealand in the group stage. She was one of four Team USA players who scored in the penalty shootout during the quarterfinal against the Netherlands and delivered during the finals, creating opportunities for her teammates.
Three-time Olympian O’Hara and first-time Olympian Davidson each played five games during the Olympic campaign. While O’Hara is a veteran with over 145 caps to her name, 22-year-old Davidson is the second-youngest player on the team; Catarina Macario ’21, another Stanford alum, is 21. During the semifinal against Canada, Davidson conceded a penalty to Deanne Rose, which led to the winning goal for Canada. However, her strong involvement in the Olympics suggests that she will be a valuable player for Team USA in the future. Macario earned her eighth cap for the national team after coming on as a late substitute in the midfield during the group stage match against New Zealand.
Jane Campbell ’17 rounded out the Cardinal component of the medal-winning team. Campbell, a goalkeeper, was an unused substitute in the group stage against New Zealand and bronze medal match against Australia.
Team USA’s performance in Tokyo did not replicate their gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics but was an improvement from their fifth-place finish in the 2016 Rio Olympics. This was the team’s sixth Olympic medal in the sport and they are now looking ahead to an appearance in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which they have won four times.