Sweden beats US 2-1 at Four Nations soccer opener

The U.S. women’s team began World Cup preparations by losing a

match in which it led for the first time in more than eight

years.

Carli Lloyd’s goal off an 11th-minute corner kick was offset

when Stina Segerstrom scored in the 16th and Kosovare Asllani in

the 60th to give Sweden a 2-1 victory over the Americans on Friday

in the opening game of the Four Nations Tournament.

The Americans had not taken a lead and then lost since March 5,

2002, a 3-2 defeat to Norway at the Algarve Cup.

”Very, very disappointed,” American midfielder Shannon Boxx

said. ”We don’t have the excuse of a long season. We had good

rest, and coming back into our first tournament we need to step it

up. I think everyone knows what we need to do. It’s mainly coming

together as a team and the attitude that we present every game

needs to be better.”

In this World Cup warmup tournament, the U.S. plays Canada on

Sunday and China on Tuesday.

The Americans will play Sweden at the World Cup in Germany on

July 6 in their last opening-round match, after games against North

Korea on June 28 and Colombia on July 2.

”Obviously, it’s a pretty disappointing first game on the road

to the World Cup,” defender Christine Rampone said. ”At the same

time, we have to take the positives away from it. The team has a

lot of work to do and we really need to start coming together,

clicking and becoming one unit. We have to start that defensively.

I think we are doing well individually, but we have to work as a

team.”

The Americans, who needed to win a pair of playoffs to qualify

for the World Cup, were missing star forward Abby Wambach because

of a heel injury and top goalkeeper Hope Solo, still recovering

from shoulder surgery in September.

Forward Sydney Leroux entered in the 86th minute, her first

match for the senior women’s team.

”Our speed of play wasn’t good enough,” U.S. coach Pia

Sundhage said. ”One thing as a team that we need to get much

better at is moving without the ball. This game today tells us many

things that we need to work on, but I am confident that we have

enough time and enough games to prepare for the World Cup. This was

just the first one.”

NOTES: In the second game, Canada beat China 3-2 on goals by

Candace Chapman, Melissa Tancredi and Christine Sinclair. You Jia

scored twice for China.