August 12, 2016
WITH A HEAVY HEART
Akers feels USA women were lacking something in their hearts, laments the loss of Wambach
By Michael Lewis
|Michelle Akers during her heyday with the U.S. national team.
Photo by Phil Stephens
The legendary Michelle Akers wasn't too shy about making her opinions known after the United States was eliminated for the Olympics and the Women's World Cup for the first time in the quarterfinals Friday.
In two FaceBook posts, the legendary striker and midfielder lamented the early exit, that the team was lacking something in its heart and the Americans did not have someone of the stature of an Abby Wambach.
The Americans lost in a shootout to Sweden, 4-3, after playing to a 1-1 tie after 120 minutes of regulation and extratime in Brasilia. They were gunning for their fourth consecutive gold medal.
"Clearly. A glaring departure of the standard for the USWNT," Akers wrote on FaceBook. "I am not on the team in jersey number, but knowing that my DNA, blood, sweat, and tears are part of this, it's tough to take. Every game is personal to me. Win or lose.
"Hands down. The USA should be the best in the world. Why aren't we is the question? Not technical ability. Not tactical awareness. It's the basic of all qualities that champions hold in their hearts and expel with every breath #mentality #itseparates #itreveals #weneedit"
This was the first major FIFA tournament that the USA participated in since the retirement of star striker Abby Wambach. The Americans won the 2008 gold medal at the Beijing Olympics without Wambach.
"This game shows the gigantic hole left by Abby Wambach," Akers wrote. "We need some one to step it up into beast-mode-kick-ass-win-at-all-cost-take-no-prisoners play in order to win this game!!!!!!!!! Get it going USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
A member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Akers was the cornerstone of two Womens World Cup championship sides (1991 and 1999) and was a member of the team that captured the very first Olympic gold medal in women's soccer in 1996.
Akers scored twice against Norway in the first Women's World Cup final in China, connecting for the game-winner with two minutes remaining in regulation that resulted in a 2-1 victory over Norway in 1991. Five years later, she converted a vital penalty kick during regulation to lift the USA into a tie with Norway in the semifinals before Shannon MacMillan scored in extratime.