Carli Lloyd Backs Up Her Criticism of USWNT's World Cup Play: 'Sometimes the Truth Hurts'

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Lloyd's blunt criticism of the USWNT was "frustrating" for her former teammates to hear, captain Lindsey Horan said earlier this month

<p>Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty</p> Carli Lloyd

Carli Lloyd meant what she said.

The 41-year-old retired soccer star was unapologetic in a new interview with The Athletic on Tuesday, telling the outlet she was “the only one brave enough to say it how it is" after blasting the United States Women’s National Team before — and after — they were knocked out of this year’s Women’s World Cup.

The team's exit from the World Cup in the Round of 16 was the earliest the U.S. has ever been eliminated from the tournament. Lloyd was a part of the USWNT's last two World Cup wins in 2015 and 2019, and said she was skeptical this year's team could pull off an unprecedented three-peat.

“The team was disjointed, was not a unit and the coaching was not what this team needed,” the two-time World Cup winner said Tuesday. “So I saw this, I felt this, I experienced this. I wasn’t truly confident in this team winning the World Cup. That’s not because of the lack of talent or the lack of players wanting to win. Every player wants to win. But there are certain steps and processes that you have to go through in order to win. There’s a certain formula that a championship team has.”

Lloyd, a two-time FIFA Player of the Year, added: “So I think maybe I was the only one brave enough to say it how it is."

The former USWNT forward said she's “always been somebody that is blunt, that’s honest," but being so direct has led to a perception by some that she's "selfish" and "arrogant."

"That’s been pretty wild to hear because it’s really not true," she said.

“I think there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and I just saw this team go in a direction where the values that were built and instilled in this team is not what was displayed out at this World Cup," Lloyd continued.

Related: Lindsey Horan Says Carli Lloyd’s Criticism of the USWNT’s World Cup Play ‘Hurts’ but Is 'Just Noise'

<p>WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty</p> Carli Lloyd


Carli Lloyd

Lloyd said the divisive comments she made on Fox Sports after the USWNT’s draw with Portugal and its loss to Sweden weren’t “scripted,” but simply genuine reactions to what she saw as lackluster performances.

They comments were, however, headline-making reviews of a USWNT that fell well short of its expectations.

The USWNT came into the Women’s World Cup as a favorite to win the whole tournament, having won back-to-back World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019. The team came into the 2023 tournament ranked No. 1 in the world.

However, the team also came into the 2023 Women’s World Cup with a new coach and 14 total new players — many of whom hadn’t yet experienced the pressures of the tournament's global stage.

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The USWNT only managed to win one of its three group stage games and barely made it to the knockout round after a 0-0 tie with Portugal — a game that was nearly lost in the final moments when a Portuguese shot rang off the Americans' goalpost.

Afterwards, Lloyd didn’t hide how upset she was to see the U.S. players celebrating the draw, which ensured they’d move on to the Round of 16, where they later lost to Sweden on penalty kicks.

“To be dancing? To be smiling? I mean, the player of the match was that post,” she said during the broadcast. “You’re lucky to not be going home right now.”

Related: Tobin Heath and Christen Press on New Talk Show, USWNT’s World Cup So Far: ‘We Expect Better’ (Exclusive)

<p>David Berding/Getty</p> Carli Lloyd

David Berding/Getty

Carli Lloyd

USWNT captain Lindsey Horan told reporters Lloyd’s comments were "frustrating" to hear and that they “hurt."

But the player-turned-broadcaster stood her ground while speaking with The Athletic.

“I did speak the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts,” Lloyd told the outlet. “But it came from my heart. The world has caught up. I get that. But there’s no reason why we still can’t be at the top. But we have regressed so far down that there really is no gap. That’s what’s hard to swallow because the team has been built on legacies that have been passed down from generation to generation, and I simply didn’t like what I saw.”

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