Spain beat USWNT as both teams deal with off-field problems

Spain beat USWNT as both teams deal with off-field problems

Laia Codina and Esther Gonzalez both scored for Spain in a 2-0 victory on Tuesday over the US women’s national team, who have now lost two games in succession for the first time in more than five years.

Codina scored in the 39th minute. It was the first goal off a set piece that the United States had conceded since last summer’s Tokyo Olympics. Gonzalez added Spain’s second in the 72nd.

The United States hadn’t lost two straight since the March 2017 SheBelieves Cup, when the team lost consecutive games to England and France.

Both teams are preparing for next summer’s World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The United States have won the last two World Cups.

Both teams also have been rocked by scandals, with Spain missing some of their best players because of it.

The US players are reeling following the release last week of a report on misconduct in the National Women’s Soccer League. A year-long investigation found “systemic” abuse and misconduct in US women’s soccer. US captain Becky Sauerbrunn said players were “horrified” by the revelations. Five of 10 coaches in the NWSL last season were either fired or stepped down amid allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Meanwhile, a group of Spanish national team players recently called on the federation to professionalize the women’s team. But the federation responded by saying the players asked for coach Jorge Vilda to be fired, which the players denied. The federation made matters worse by asking the players to apologize and ask for forgiveness. In announcing his team for a pair of friendlies this month, including Tuesday’s game, Vilda excluded the players who called for change, among them Barcelona’s Patricia Guijarro and goalkeeper Sandra Panos, and Manchester United’s Lucia Garcia. Jenni Hermoso and Alexia Putellas were not included because of injury.

The United States was coming off a 2-1 loss to England on Friday in front of a sold-out crowd at Wembley. The Americans have conceded goals in their past three matches, after allowing just two total goals in their previous 19 games.

The United States have won the previous three meetings against Spain.

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