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Lindsey Horan vs Alexi Lalas

Earlier this week, USWNT member Lindsey Horan had this controversial take "US Soccer Fans Aren't That Smart." Immediately, former USMNT member Alexi Lalas took to the airwaves " US Soccer Fans Are Smart."


Well who's right? Unfortunately, in this specific case, it's Lindsey Horan.


Here's the problem. In 2023, the USWNT was one of the betting favorites to win the Women's World Cup. What happened? Here's a cut and paste job from right after last years games by yours truly.


"I am going to break down America's 4 game World Cup exit like the low-rent soccer coach that I am.


3-0 Win

U.S. 28 shots - 7 on target

Vietnam 0 shots - 0 on target

I watched that game in fury. If the Americans had any sort of aim, they would have won by 10. The U.S. "struggled" against nothing more than a scrappy rec league team.


1-1 Tie

U.S. 18 shots - 5 on target

Netherlands 5 shots - 1 on target

Netherlands' only shot on goal went in. Let's keep moving because Netherlands is a good team.


0-0 Tie

U.S. 17 shots - 6 on target

Portugal 6 shots - 0 on target

Now after the group stage, the America Defense had only allowed one on target shot and it went in. It is almost statistically impossible to out shoot your opponents 63-11 (18-1 on target) and get a result of one win and two ties. ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE.


0-0 (5-4) Loss in Shootout - Eliminated

U.S. 22 shots - 11 on target

Sweden 9 shots - 1 on target


So for the entire tournament, the United States played 2 good teams and 2 bad teams, out-shot their opponents 29-2 (on target) and 85-20 (overall) and were rewarded with their earliest exit in Women's World Cup history.


On some level, they were simply the victims of bad luck. In soccer, if you only give up 1 goal over 4 games, you wouldn't expect to go 1-1-2. You cannot ask more from a team's defense, you really can't.


But on the offensive end, the shots just wouldn't go in. Sometimes they would force the shots, sometimes they made the extra pass when they shouldn't have. Something just wasn't clicking offensively like it had in the past. Math dictated that eventually some of those shots would have found their way to the back of the net, yet that never happened.


Megan Rapinoe led a 2023 team that was surprising unpopular. Many fans were tired of the team's politics. When you win, most Americans overlook that. When you lose, the fans shriek "shut up and dribble."


So in this particular battle, Lindsey Horan is right. For all those commentators who think the USWNT needs to be scraped down to its foundations and rebuilt, they really aren't that smart. The USWNT is going to be fine. They are still one of the top 3 or 4 women's soccer teams in the world and the younger generation will fill in the voids left by Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe. Captain Horan knows the team is playing good soccer. If they continue to out-shoot their opponents 10-1 and don't give up any goals, they're going to win a lot of games.


In Alexi's defense, Americans love a winner. In the past, America's Women's teams have won the hearts of their fans by winning as the scrappy underdog and winning as the prohibitive favorite. In 2023, the ladies lost way too early for their skill level. Again, Americans HATE that.


They don't care why.



I do have to add, though, when you call your fans dumb, that's a PR battle you're never going to win. Even if they are dumb.


Here's the catch 22 though. The smartest soccer fans in the world, the ones in the Midlands of England, the ones that follow all levels of the soccer pyramid in Europe, the ones who eat and breath soccer, they are aware of MLS and Liga MX in America, but they don't give a rat's ass about women's soccer.


Most USWNT fans are casual fans that show up when the team comes to their city or every 4 years at the World Cup. The average U.S. soccer fan isn't invested in the NWSL or in Women's World Cup qualifying. Their fanship rarely translates into following their favorite players overseas in club matches.


Sadly, there just aren't a lot of hard core Women's soccer fans in America, ones that live and breathe the Women's game. There's just not.

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