USWNT draws fire for running up score, celebrating: 'I'm disgusted ... there are kids watching'

The U.S. women’s national team opened World Cup play on Tuesday in dominant, historic fashion.

Their 13-0 victory over Thailand was a record margin for the Women’s World Cup and cause for elation for the team and its fans. Alex Morgan’s individual tally of five goals tied a tournament record.

But as the USWNT celebrated turning a 3-0 halftime rout into a new standard for dominant play against an overmatched opponent, some took umbrage with not only the margin — but the players’ continued celebration of the scores well after the game was in hand.

‘There are kids watching’

Clare Rustad and Kaylyn Kyle, analysts for Canadian sports network TSN and former players for the Canadian women’s national team, had some of the strongest rebukes.

"I just think they could have won with some humility and grace, and they just couldn’t manage to do that," Rustad said."Celebrating goals later in the game like this is just completely unnecessary.”

Kyle grabbed the baton from Rustad and ran full bore into “disgusted” territory.

“What is this?” Kyle responded. “They’re the No. 1 team in the world. And for me, I’m disgusted, honestly. You’re going up against a team that’s their first time in the World Cup. They’re just happy to be there. ... I’m embarrassed. I was a female professional athlete. There are kids watching this.”

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USWNT highlights from the Women's World Cup
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USWNT highlights from the Women's World Cup
United States' Kelley O Hara leaps over Sweden's Kosovare Asllani during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between Sweden and the United States at Stade Océane, in Le Havre, France, Thursday, June 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 16: Julie Ertz of USA #8 celebrates her goal with Mallory Pugh, Lindsey Horan, Morgan Brian during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Chile at Parc des Princes stadium on June 16, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
LE HAVRE, FRANCE - JUNE 20: Lindsey Horan of the USA scores her team's first goal the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between Sweden and USA at Stade Oceane on June 20, 2019 in Le Havre, France. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
United States' Carli Lloyd, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring their side's third goal during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between United States and Chile at Parc des Princes in Paris, France, Sunday, June 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Chile goalkeeper Claudia Endler lunges for the ball to make a safe during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between United States and Chile at Parc des Princes in Paris, France, Sunday, June 16, 2019. US won 3-0. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
United States' Carli Lloyd celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between the United States and Chile at the Parc des Princes in Paris, Sunday, June 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
United States' Carli Lloyd, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between United States and Chile at Parc des Princes in Paris, France, Sunday, June 16, 2019. Lloyd scored twice in US' 3-0 victory. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
United States' Megan Rapinoe, right, congratulates teammate Alex Morgan after scoring her fifth goal during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between the United States and Thailand at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France, Tuesday, June 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
United States' Alex Morgan, centre, scores her team's fifth goal during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between the United States and Thailand at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France, Tuesday, June 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Mallory Pugh of USA shots to goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand at Stade Auguste Delaune on June 11, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Megan Rapinoe of United States of America celebrates with the supporters after the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand at Stade Auguste Delaune on June 11, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Mallory Pugh of the USA celebrates after scoring her team's eleventh goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand at Stade Auguste Delaune on June 11, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by Cathrin Mueller - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Final score on the scoreboard after the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand at Stade Auguste Delaune on June 11, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
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Rustad, Kyle weren’t alone in criticism

Like with Kyle and Rustad, the score wasn’t the primary issue for many critics, but how the players handled themselves and the fact that such a disparate matchup was allowed to take place to begin with.

The counter argument

Of course, as with most everything involving social media, there were strongly worded takes on the other side, with many questioning if a men’s team would receive the same sort of criticism.

Of course, the U.S. men’s national team didn’t even make the most recent World Cup, much less beat an opponent by double digits, so there’s no real comparable to hold Tuesday’s result up against.

Goal differential is in play

And of course, there’s the indisputable point that World Cup teams are incentivized to score as many goals as possible with goal differential acting as a tiebreaker — though it’s an argument that doesn’t address the celebrations.

One presidential candidate saw the controversy as an in to plant her flag on women’s issues.

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