Gonzalez On USWNT: "It's Beyond Soccer"

From on-field dominance to political activism, Megan Rapinoe and the USWNT have "ruffled some feathers" during the World Cup

Ferrall On The Bench
July 03, 2019 - 9:02 am
Megan Rapinoe World Cup France

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Another match, another win for the U.S. Women’s National team, which beat England, 2-1, in the World Cup semifinals Tuesday. The U.S. will face the winner of Netherlands vs. Sweden in the World Cup Final on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.

“They’ve been so good with a mixture of lineups, with some injury issues as well, and for them to continue to play at such a high level has been super impressive,” CBSSports.com soccer writer Roger Gonzalez said on Ferrall on the Bench. “I think they’re going to be the strong favorite no matter who they play on Sunday. They just keep getting the job done. People continue to doubt Jill Ellis, but she’s undefeated in the World Cup over two tournaments. I think that speaks for itself.”

The U.S. is 6-0 in the World Cup. They opened with a 13-0 win over Thailand and have outscored the competition 11-3 in five matches since.

The Americans were criticized for their over-the-top celebrations against Thailand, but the team took it in stride.

“I think they use it as motivation,” Gonzalez said. “They know they’ve got a target on their back as the best team in the world and being the reigning champions. But I don’t think it’s anything they’re too, too concerned about.”

The squad – most notably Megan Rapinoe – has also ventured into the political realm, even getting into spats with President Donald Trump

“They’re certainly using their platform with everyone watching to speak about issues that are important to them,” Gonzalez said. “It’s certainly ruffled some feathers. Getting into the political side, you’re going to upset some people and then you’re also going to get some people on your side. I think it’s certainly raised the exposure of the team. There’s people watching it that maybe wouldn’t before. Unfortunately, there’s some people who are watching it because they want them to lose based on comments they don’t agree with. But it’s beyond more than just soccer this tournament. We’ve seen the equal pay fight as well that’s been going on, so there’s certainly a lot of topics outside of soccer involving this team, and it’s something to keep an eye on.”

The U.S. will be favored in the World Cup Final regardless of their opponent.

“This U.S. team is the gold standard in soccer,” Gonzalez said. “No country has won more than them. Only one country has won more than one, with Germany winning two times, and the U.S. can get their fourth title. Regardless of who they play, they have to feel so good about their chances. For them to beat England without Megan Rapinoe, I think just shows the depth that this team has and they’re destined to win it all.”

Click below to listen to Gonzalez’s interview in its entirety.