AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Co-captain Lindsey Horan brushed aside criticism leveled at the United States by former teammate-turned-pundit Carli Lloyd, calling it outside noise.
Now an analyst with Fox Sports, Lloyd didn’t hold back after the Americans eked out a spot in the knockout round at the Women’s World Cup with a scoreless draw against Portugal.
Lloyd called her former team “uninspiring” and criticized players for dancing and laughing with fans after the match in Auckland on Tuesday.
“I have never witnessed something like that,” she said. “There’s a difference between being respectful of the fans and saying hello to your family, but to be dancing, to be smiling?”
The next day, Lloyd walked back the comments a bit: “I was very critical of the team last night. I had some time to reflect, to sleep on it and I want people to understand that I care deeply about this team.”
Horan said Thursday that Lloyd’s comments stung.
“It’s kind of frustrating for me to hear, especially knowing this team and knowing how much we put into every single game, how much preparation we put into every single game, seeing our trainings, seeing how hard we work,” Horan said.
The United States has long retreated into a bubble environment at the World Cup, staying off social media, avoiding commentators and generally shutting out the outside world.
So the criticism aimed at the team essentially is just noise, Horan said.
“Again, it’s noise and, again, it’s an opinion and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. We know that’s how it goes, Horan said. “I always want to defend my team and say, ‘You have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes, you have no idea every single training what we’re doing individually, collectively, etc.”
It’s true the United States has not been as dominant at this World Cup as in past tournaments, with just a single win and two draws in the group stage. But the Americans nevertheless have moved on to the knockout round.
The United States, which has won a record four World Cup titles, faces Sweden on Sunday in Melbourne, Australia, to open the Round of 16.
Lloyd, who retired in 2021, scored three goals in the first 16 minutes of the 2015 World Cup final against Japan, and the United States went on to win the title 5-2. She also was on the squad that won the 2019 World Cup.
AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/fifa-womens-world-cup