The New Republic senior editor Alex Shephard set out to refute the claim, advanced by some on the Right, that the U.S. women’s soccer team’s 5-4 loss to Sweden on penalty kicks was an outgrowth of the team’s commitment to “wokeness.”
In that effort, he does a workmanlike job of demonstrating why the team’s tactical decisions on the field are sufficient to explain Monday’s unsatisfying results.
Shephard does, however, take up the claim from “mediocre” former U.S. soccer player Alexi Lalas who called the women’s team “polarizing” to such an extent that it has hurt its brand among right-of-center Americans. That, Lalas implies, explains why some of the loudest voices in our cultural discourse appeared to view the team’s loss as a source of personal validation. This, Shephard argues, is a misrepresentation of the sequence of events.