The U.S. women’s 13-0 shellacking of Thailand to kick off their Women’s World Cup title defense on Tuesday inspired confidence, but also came under criticism from some who felt the team showed poor sportsmanship by continuing to score and celebrate in front of an already-beaten opponent.
Tuesday’s score was the biggest blowout in the tournament’s history, with Alex Morgan scoring five goals in a dominating win for the Americans.
“0.0 problem with the score line as this is THE tournament BUT celebrating goals (like #9) leaves a sour taste in my mouth like many of you. Curious to see if anyone apologizes for this postgame. #USWNT #FIFAWWC,” tweeted Taylor Twellman, an ESPN soccer analyst and former player for the New England Revolution and the U.S. men’s national team.
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Other sports commentators and former soccer stars also weighed in.
“I would tone down the celebration on the 9th goal, but that’s just me,” tweeted Maximiliano Bretos, play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Football Club.
“the goal celebrations of #USWNT at 9-0, 10-0, 11-0 are so overboard. Why are they even trying to score anymore. I’m on #teamthailand at this point,” posted Jeff Paterson, Vancouver Canucks beat reporter for TSN 1040 in Canada.
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Others commentators said they found the women’s play and celebrations embarrassing.
U.S. women’s soccer coach Jill Ellis said her players didn’t consider pulling back because it disrespect their opponent.
“A lot of this is about building momentum and so as a coach I don’t find it my job to rein my players in,” Ellis told The Wall Street Journal. “This is what they’ve dreamt about. I respect Thailand, I spoke to some of them afterward and they should keep their heads up. This is part of the growth of the game.”
While the team came under criticism from some, it had more than its share of defenders.
“For all that have issue with many goals: for some players this is there first World Cup goal, and they should be excited. Imagine it being you out there.This is your dream of playing and then scoring in a World Cup. Celebrate. Would you tell a men’s team to not score or celebrate?,” tweeted Abby Wambach, a former teammate of Morgan’s who was on the 2015 U.S. women’s World Cup championship squad.
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Soccer player Eniola Aluko defended the women’s performance, saying it’s their job “to win, not to make football more comforting for you.”
The U.S. plays Chile on Sunday and then plays Sweden next week.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.