Kelley O'Hara reveals post-draw conversation with teammates
The United States advanced past the Women's World Cup group stage despite falling short of lofty expectations.
After defeating Vietnam, the U.S. tied the Netherlands and Portugal. Tuesday's draw nearly turned into a late elimination before Portugal's game-winning goal attempt deflected off the goalpost.
Following the close call, veteran defender Kelley O'Hara told FOX Sports' Jenny Taft that she advised her teammates to put the group results behind them.
"I just told the team, 'Listen, we did what we had to do. We're moving on. The group stage is done. This is over, it's in the rearview,
we have our next game in front of us, and that's the only one that matters,'" O'Hara said (h/t ESPN). "Maybe we didn't do it the way we wanted to or planned on doing it,
but we're advancing. And this is the World Cup, and that's all that matters."
O'Hara wants the club to focus on "continuing to be the team we know we can be." She also declared that they "did what we had to do," even if it didn't go entirely according to plan.
"It's not gonna be pretty. It's not gonna be perfect," she said. "It's not gonna go exactly how you planned, but that's what makes [the World Cup] so exciting and so unique."
Some fans expected dominance from a country seeking an unprecedented third-straight World Cup title. Instead, the USWNT looked mortal in New Zealand.
The U.S. has less margin for error in a knockout game against Sweden, the last team to hand them a World Cup defeat in 2011. Sweden also eliminated them from the Olympics two years ago.