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U.S. women's soccer ousted from Olympics with PK loss to Sweden

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Associated Press

U.S. women's soccer ousted from Olympics with PK loss to Sweden

BRASILIA, Brazil -- Taunted by local fans since the Olympics began and stinging from a surprising loss, Hope Solo called Sweden a "bunch of cowards."

The U.S. goalkeeper criticized the Swedes for the way they played Friday in beating the Americans in a penalty shootout -- a result that means the world's top-ranked team will miss out on a medal in women's soccer for the first time.

"I thought we played a courageous game," Solo said. "I also think we played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today. I strongly and firmly believe that."

The Swedes beat the U.S. 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the quarterfinals. They will next face either Australia or host Brazil.

"It's OK to be a coward if you win," responded Sweden coach Pia Sundhage, the same woman who coached the United States to back-to-back Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012.

A few hours after the match, Solo posted on Twitter and seemed to feel some remorse, but she stopped short of apologizing.

"Losing sucks," Solo tweeted. "I'm really bad at it."

Tied after three rounds in the shootout, Sweden captain Caroline Seger shot past Solo. U.S. forward Christen Press' attempt then went over Hedvig Lindahl's net. And with the next kick, Lisa Dahlkvist beat an outstretched Solo for the win.

"Sweden dropped off. They didn't want to open play," Solo said, explaining why she criticized her opponents. "They didn't want to pass the ball. They didn't want to play great soccer."

Sundhage knows the U.S. team well, having coached the Americans for five years and led them to a pair of Olympic golds.

"They played more attacking football then we did. We defended very well," Sundhage said. "And the fact that there were only two goals and it went to penalty kicks said something about our defending. The U.S. played better in the attack, we played better in the defense."

As Sweden celebrated, U.S. captain Carli Lloyd crouched on the field at Mane Garrincha Stadium in disbelief.

The three-time defending champion United States had been the clear favorites in Brazil to become the first team to win an Olympic gold following a Women's World Cup title.

"It's always hard to swallow losing in PKs. Yeah, I mean it's going to hurt," Lloyd said. "We've got to hold our heads high. This team is not going to crumble. We're going to just work that much harder. It's been a busy couple of years. That's why no one has won back-to-back."

Solo, who has endured near-constant taunts of "Zika! Zika!" for a week, has courted controversy for her comments in the past. And on Friday, she was also criticized for changing her gloves during the penalty shootout.

After a scoreless first half, Stina Blackstenius scored in the 61st minute to give Sweden a 1-0 lead. Alex Morgan netted the equalizer in the 78th and the match went to extra time.

Lloyd then had a header called back for offside in the 115th minute, and Lotta Schelin was offside on her attempt against Solo a minute later -- although replays appeared to show otherwise.

The reigning World Cup champions, who are also four-time Olympic champions, had not dropped a match this year.

"Really just heartbroken right now for the girls and the federation. It's unfortunate," said Morgan, who missed the first penalty in the shootout. "I feel like we were prepared but so were Sweden. I felt today could go either way."

The Americans won their first two matches in Brazil before a surprising 2-2 draw in Manaus against Colombia, which had already been eliminated.

Sweden had won only five prior matches against the United States. At last year's World Cup, the two teams played to a scoreless draw. The last time the two teams met in the Olympics was at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Sundhage was a player on the Sweden team that fell 2-1 to the Americans.

Ranked sixth in the world, Sweden had struggled in its Olympic group with a 5-1 loss to host Brazil and finished 1-1-1.

The crowd at Mane Garrincha Stadium was sparse but continued to jeer Solo every time she touched the ball. The local fans are still upset about her posts on social media about the Zika virus. Solo posted a picture of herself in mosquito netting and armed with insect repellant.

Union's Kacper Przybylko shares Covid-19 diagnosis, asks Philly to 'follow the rules'

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USA Today Sports Images

Union's Kacper Przybylko shares Covid-19 diagnosis, asks Philly to 'follow the rules'

Philadelphia Union striker Kacper Przybylko announced late Wednesday night that he was the team member who tested positive for Covid-19 in early April.

The team announced back on April 1 that an unidentified player had tested positive for the virus, saying the player - who we now know is Przybylko - had mild symptoms and was feeling well.

In a video posted to his personal Instagram account on Wednesday night, Przybylko echoed those sentiments, explaining what sounds like a brief battle with the virus.

Here's how Przybylko described his experience:

I just want to share with you all that I was the one who was tested positive by Covid-19. I immediately alerted the proper team officials about my symptoms, and went straight to self-isolating. My goal was not to risk anyone else. I received my test. I also went into quarantine for 14 days.

First of all, I would like to thank everybody for respecting my privacy at this time. I just needed some time for myself, before I wanted to share with everybody. Especially my teammates, my close friends, my family. Thanks for that. And also thanks for all the support I got from my fiancee, my family, my Union family, my teammates, the medical staff, everyone else, thanks for that.

I received mild symptoms, with a little bit of fever, but I feel great right now. I feel fully recovered right now. I'm looking forward to the magical moment, to be back at the practice with you guys. So, let's follow the rules. Philly is a big family, we all have to stay together, fight for each other, so let's follow the rules by the government. Hope you guys are staying safe. Your friendly striker. Be safe, I love you guys.

It is believed that Przybylko was the first Major League Soccer player to test positive for Covid-19.

Przybylko, 27, joined the Union in 2018, and made his debut with the club during the 2019 season, scoring 15 goals.

The team said in a release last month that it communicated with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local medical officials, after Przybylko notified them of his symptoms.

The MLS, and all major professional sports leagues in the U.S., are still on hold amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

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Philadelphia Union player tests positive for COVID-19

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USA Today Sports Images

Philadelphia Union player tests positive for COVID-19

A Philadelphia Union player has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.

The team did not specify which player tested positive.

The player experienced "mild symptoms", according to the team, and is currently feeling well and is in good spirits. The player has been isolated, according to the team, and no other players have cases or symptoms as of Wednesday.

The Union said the team's medical staff has been in consultation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as local medical officials:

Based upon guidance from Crozer-Keystone Health System medical officials, infectious disease specialists and Major League Soccer health officials, this case does not present a risk to our fans, our most recent opponent, LAFC, or any of the other Union players, staff, or personnel do not need to be tested as the team is outside of the 14-day window where anyone with team related interactions with the player would have reported symptoms. 

The announcement is believed to be the first confirmed case of COVID-19 from a Major League Soccer player. A member of the Seattle Sounders support staff tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-March.

The Union said it will provide more information as it becomes available.

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