United States women’s national team co-captain Lindsey Horan has defended her team’s actions following a 0-0 draw against Portugal on Tuesday. Although the Americans qualified for the Women’s World Cup knockout round, they finished second in their group. This means that the top-ranked team must now face a tough Sweden team in the round of 16. Sweden is currently ranked third in the world by FIFA.

After the Portugal match, several USWNT players were seen laughing and dancing on the pitch. This did not sit well with many in the soccer world, especially former star Carli Lloyd. Now retired, Lloyd previously played for the USWNT alongside many current players, including Horan. The two-time Women’s World Cup winner also featured for current head coach Vlatko Andonovski.

USWNT co-captain Horan “frustrated” by Lloyd comments

Horan spoke about the controversy surrounding the celebrations on Thursday. The star midfielder labeled Lloyd’s comments as just “noise” and that outside opinions ultimately don’t matter.

“It’s kind of frustrating for me to hear,” Horan said during a press conference. “Especially knowing this team and knowing how much we put into every single game, how much preparation we put into every single game, seeing our trainings, seeing how hard we work.”

“Again, it’s noise and, again, it’s an opinion and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. We know that’s how it goes. But for me, I always want to defend my team and say: you have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes. You have no idea every single training what we’re doing individually, collectively, etcetera.”

“So, for anyone to question our mentality hurts a little bit but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter,” continued Horan. “I don’t really care. It’s what’s going inside of the team and getting ready for that next game.”

Americans back in action at the weekend

The USWNT players will be able to focus back to the action on the pitch on Sunday, Aug. 6. Germany, the No. 2 team in the FIFA Rankings, fell in the group stage. Therefore, the winner of the USWNT game against Sweden is the likely favorite to win the competition.