Lindsey Horan had a simple explanation for the U.S. Women’s National Team’s flop in the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
“When a coach comes in, it’s like, hey, how do we get the best out of every single individual player putting the most simplicity into a 10-day camp every few months and getting the best out of your team and without overcomplicating everything?” the USWNT co-captain told former teammates Tobin Heath and Christen Press on “The RE-CAP Show.”
“I could talk about the last four-year cycle, and we don’t need to get into every single thing, but that’s not what we did. We did not get the best out of every single individual.
“I don’t think everyone was fully prepared, and that’s on us as well.”
There’s been a search for answers as to why the two-time defending champion USWNT had its worst showing in tournament history at this year’s Women’s World Cup.
The Americans needed a ball to hit a goal post against Portugal to save them from being eliminated in group stage play, and exited the tournament in the Round of 16 after a loss in penalty kicks to Sweden.
The USWNT did not score in the final 238 minutes of its tournament run.
Horan’s header in a 1-1 tie against Netherlands in the United States’ second game would be their final goal of the tournament following a 3-0 win to open the tournament against Vietnam.
Head coach Vlatko Adonovski has already paid the price, announcing his resignation last week after the USWNT scored its fewest goals ever in the tournament.
Horan seemingly indicated that coaching may have been an issue for this tournament with her comments, but also noted that the team didn’t seem to play with joy.
“The first game (versus Vietnam) there were bits and pieces of joy but we still weren’t at our best. Looking at those three group stage games, you just felt this tense feeling, and people were just not enjoying their futbol or they weren’t enjoying individually playing and there was so much going on in their head,” Horan said.
“I had a press conference and that was the first thing that came to my mind. There’s no joy. I haven’t truly enjoyed moments on the field where I came off the field and was like, ‘Oh, I love that game.’”
The USWNT’s underperformance has made it an easy target for critics, particularly from former star and television analyst Carli Lloyd.
Lloyd recently said the team lacked confidence and was not “fit” from development, technical and tactical standpoints.
The analyst added that the USWNT had a “level of entitlement” and needs to be tougher.
“I think developing players at the youth level, mentally being able to persevere,” Lloyd said. “I think you saw a group of players that maybe needed to be taught a little bit more about adversity or have a coach that could motivate, that could allow them to believe in themselves.”
Horan said the last two weeks since elimination have been difficult.
“I’m killing myself for the last two weeks, like what the heck could I have done to help or push or push our playing style or our bravery?”