U.S. women’s soccer stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan and their coach Jill Ellis brushed off scathing criticism stemming from their blowout victory over Thailand on Tuesday.
Rapinoe, who scored a goal during the 13-0 win, told FOX Sports’ Alex Curry on Wednesday the team’s “only crime was an explosion of joy.”
ALEX MORGAN TIES RECORD WITH 5 GOALS AS US DEFEATS THAILAND IN HISTORIC BLOWOUT WIN
“Honestly, if anyone wants to come at our team for not doing the right thing, not playing the right way, not being the right ambassador, they can come at us,” she said. “I think our only crime was an explosion of joy last night. We’ve been pretty pent up, as well. We’ve had kind of a heavy lead-up, obviously everything off the field… So, if our crime is joy, then we’ll take that.”
Morgan, who scored five goals tying a record set by Michelle Akers in 1999, explained to reporters why putting up the baker’s dozen figure was important.
“I think, in the moment, every time we score a goal in the World Cup it’s, you’ve dreamt of it since you were a little girl, winning a World Cup and being back here for a third time, we want that fourth star,” she said. “We knew that every goal could matter. In this group stage game and when it comes to celebrations, this was a really good team performance tonight and I think it was important for us to celebrate with each other.”
Ellis wondered why there were questions over the goal scoring.
US WOMEN’S WORLD CUP TEAM COMES UNDER CRITICISM FOR CELEBRATING GOALS IN BLOWOUT
“If this is 10-nil in a men’s World Cup, are we getting the same questions, to be quite honest? I think a World Cup, it is about competing. It is about peaking. It is about priming your players ready for the next game,” she said.
Ellis added that the purpose of the World Cup is to score as much as possible because goal differential is a key factor in who moves onto the next round in case there’s a tie
“With the scoreline tonight, we have to look at the group stage as every goal counts and it was important for us to continue to go,” Morgan said. “But for these 24 teams, it’s a great opportunity for women to showcase what they’ve worked their entire life for and not every federation gives the same financial effort to their women’s side and that’s unfortunate.”
The U.S. women’s team received scathing criticism for celebrating and scoring as much as they did in the victory over Thailand.
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The team plays Chile in their next match Sunday.