US Soccer condemns supreme court abortion ruling as UWSNT beat Colombia
Sophia Smith scored twice in the second half and the US women’s national team beat Colombia 3-0 on Saturday night to extend their home unbeaten streak to 68 games, but many of the players had a seismic legal ruling on their minds.
Smith scored her first in the 54th minute off a pass from Rose Lavelle when Colombian goalkeeper Catalina Perez came out of her goal. She added her second in the 60th minute. Smith, who plays for the Portland Thorns in the National Women’s Soccer League, has six international goals.
“I think it’s a privilege to be able to compete against such high-level players every day in camp and if it makes it harder to get a starting spot, that’s good for everybody,” Smith said. “It’s only making us better and we trust every single player we have on this on this roster to go out and play and perform.”
All eyes were on the team to see if they would make any collective demonstration on field over Friday’s Supreme Court ruling overturned abortion rights in the United States. Instead, US Soccer released a statement before the game.
“As our women’s national team represents the US on the field today in Colorado, the occasion serves as a reminder of the rights and freedoms that women and their allies have fought for, earned and deserve,” the statement said. “The Supreme Court ruling on 24 June is counter to the freedoms promised as a nation and as a people. US Soccer will advocate at every opportunity for human rights, including the right to make personal healthcare decisions as there is no equality without bodily autonomy.”
Becky Sauerbrunn said afterward that US Soccer worked with the players, much like when the men’s national team took a stand for gun control measures in the wake of the deadly Uvalde, Texas, school shooting.
“I think anyone looking at this team knows what we support and that we are against the overturning of Roe v Wade. And we wanted the federation to back us and really support us on this. And so I’m glad they put out a statement,” she said.
Megan Rapinoe made an impassioned plea for abortion rights on Friday in the wake of the high court’s decision.
She was asked about the upcoming game in Utah, which she said the team wouldn’t refuse to play. Utah had a trigger law that made all elective abortions illegal when the Supreme Court made its ruling on Friday. Utah’s law has exceptions for pregnancies from rape or incest, and also makes exceptions for women whose health would be compromised.
“I think, as you guys have seen, the most powerful thing we can always do is show up and not only express our supreme skill and talent and joy on the field, but to be able to have that platform,” Rapinoe said.
On the pitch, Perez made two penalty saves. She stopped Lindsey Horan’s attempt late in the first half, and then saved Lavelle’s chance in the 70th.
“[A penalty is] probably the best goalscoring opportunity you can have as a team, but that’s part of the game,” coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “Give credit to the goalkeeper, I thought she did a great job. I mean, two good saves. We’re definitely gonna gonna work on that a little bit more. We still believe that both Lindsey and Rose are very good penalty-kick takers.”
Ashley Hatch started at forward, flanked by Mallory Pugh and Smith. Hatch replaced Catarina Macario, who tore an ACL while playing for her club team, Lyon, in France. Veterans Rapinoe and Alex Morgan started on the bench. Morgan replaced Hatch at the half and Rapinoe entered the game to loud cheers with about 15 minutes to go.
On Tuesday night, the teams will meet again in Sandy, Utah, as the United States prepare for World Cup qualifying in the Concacaf W Championship next month in Monterrey, Mexico. The United States are the two-time defending World Cup champion.
Colombia are hoping to secure one of Conmebol’s spots in the 2023 World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. Ranked No 28 in the world, Colombia missed out on the 2019 World Cup.