The USWNT piled on goals against its latest Olympics opponent, but every point counts after its opening Tokyo loss

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The USWNT piled on goals against its latest Olympics opponent, but every point counts after its opening Tokyo loss
Christen Press. Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images
  • The US Women's National Team earned a 6-1 win vs New Zealand in its second game of the Olympics.
  • Players have faced criticism for piling on goals in the past, but they need every single point.
  • After a surprise loss vs Sweden in Tokyo, the USWNT is relying heavily on goal differential.

The US Women's National Team got its groove back.

The world's top-ranked national team earned a decisive 6-1 win vs New Zealand for a much-needed rebound following the stunning 3-0 loss against rival Sweden that opened its Tokyo Olympics campaign.

The USWNT piled on goals against its latest Olympics opponent, but every point counts after its opening Tokyo loss
Megan Rapinoe. AP Photo/David Vincent

With four different scorers and two forced own-goals against the Kiwis, the USWNT enjoyed its highest-scoring showing in team Olympics history. The Americans also racked up their largest margin of victory ever at the games, opening themselves up to familiar criticism that their lopsided victory was unsportsmanlike or inconsiderate.

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But the USWNT needs every goal that it can get.

After their uncharacteristic loss to Sweden on Wednesday, the stars and stripes found themselves in dead last among its Group G foes - including the Swedes, New Zealand, and the Australian Matildas. Now, they're relying heavily on goal differential to advance to the knockout stage of the Olympic tournament.

The USWNT piled on goals against its latest Olympics opponent, but every point counts after its opening Tokyo loss
Alex Morgan (left) high fives Christen Press. Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Network

First, and most important, is each team's win-loss-tie record. Sweden is securely on top of the group with its wins against the US and Australia, but the USWNT and the Matildas each have one win and one loss apiece. Breaking that tie will come down to Tuesday's game, when the Americans and Aussies go head-to-head.

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But for whichever team loses, or in the event of a tie, goal differential is crucial. Following its 6-1 romp of New Zealand, the USWNT has a two-goal advantage over the Matildas with its +2 goal differential compared to Australia's -1. Barring a huge loss on Tuesday, the Americans should advance comfortably - but Saturday's six goals were instrumental in getting them there.

The USWNT kicks off against Australia Tuesday at 4 a.m. ET. Its subsequent schedule will depend on how the results shake out across the board.

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