Expectations are a dangerous thing. Ask most Americans about who should win the Women's World Cup or any Olympic sport and they will say, "USA! USA!"
Why?? Because of national pride? Because of historic dominance? Because we want it to be?
But if you look a little closer, you will find more nuance and parity to the game than ever before. The European teams are finding out that having a strong youth program provides skilled players for the senior team. The professional men's teams also support the women's league, even if it is not profitable. The Australian team competes with one of the youngest rosters of the 24 teams but certainly does not lack in experience.
Each player and team walks into every game with a plan and an expectation to win. The USWNT is no different. Have we been winning? Yes. Have we been dominating? No. What is the goal? Well now it is "win and move on". Did we meet this goal against Columbia and China? Yes.
So why so many concerned fans and writers?
Because they expect big wins against all teams. We can discuss the formation, the starting 11, the substitutions, the coach and every other angle. But in the end, we know nothing of the directives that have been given.
What we do know is that the 23 players plus the coaching staff want to win. They have dedicated years to their craft. We know we have the fittest, most athletic women in the world. They don't lack in pride or desire. Their goal has always been to hoist the trophy toward the sky. Still is.
Only Germany and their technical talents stand in their way. Hope Solo will have to be at her best against Mittag, Sasic and the strong German attackers. But Angerer will also have to be on her toes vs Rapinoe, Lloyd, Morgan, Rodriguez, Wambach and Leroux.
My expectation is an exciting 90 minutes followed by a U.S. win and a date in the finals on July 5th in Vancouver. I believe that we will win!!
Joanna Lohman is a professional soccer player for the Washington Spirit. She is writing for Outsports during the Women's World Cup. You can follow her on Twitter @JoannaLohman.