The United States women's national team opened play this past Tuesday at the FIFA Women's World Cup in France, picking up a 13-0 win over Thailand. 

The 13-0 win became controversial and started two different conversations.

Should the USWNT have backed off and stopped trying to score? Should the USWNT have continued to celebrate?

Goal differential means the USWNT should not have slowed down. FIFA uses goal differential as a tiebreaker during the group stage, which means scoring as many goals as possible is important.

If the USWNT and Sweden were to finish group play with the same record, goal differential would be in play. Sweden has to face Thailand Sunday, and the United States wants that tiebreaker advantage.

Every goal that the U.S. scored on Tuesday mattered. If they won the match 5-0, Sweden would be going as hard as possible for six goals, seven goals and then more after that.

The task for having a better goal differential would be much simpler.

That is just how the World Cup works.

And the World Cup is not like basketball. A coach cannot bring five players off of the bench at the end of a blowout.

At the World Cup, there are only three substitutions available to each team. Head coach Jill Ellis used all three of those substitutions.

Some — including this writer — believe that taking it easy after building a lead is more disrespectful to the opponent and to the game.

The USWNT should not be criticized for being too dominant in a match where that sort of result was always expected. 

And that leads to the trickier question about celebrating goals when leading by a large margin. Exactly where is the line to stop celebrating?

The answer to that question seems quite subjective.

Not liking the celebrations is fine. At the same time, it is important to understand why the players choose to celebrate.

Scoring a goal in a World Cup is hard, even though it might have seemed easy on Tuesday. It takes years of hard work and sacrifice to have the opportunity to compete in the tournament.

When a player scores in the World Cup, it is a sign of that hard work paying off. The players should be able to enjoy that moment because of their hard work and because the future is uncertain.

When it comes to goals 10 through 13, there were some milestones being accomplished.

Alex Morgan scored two of those to finish with five goals, tying a record set by Michelle Akers in 1991. That seems like a reason to celebrate.

The 11th goal came from Mallory Pugh, who made her debut. Pugh was one of four U.S. players to score their first goal at the World Cup.

Who wants to tell Pugh and other players that they cannot celebrate that accomplishment because of the score?

The final goal came from Carli Lloyd, who is possibly competing in her last World Cup. Why shouldn't she celebrate each goal she scores?

While watching the game we might think that scoring the 12th goal against Thailand might not mean much, but we do not get to decide what that goal means to the player. Only the player gets to decide that and how to react.

The team was not trying to disrespect Thailand. They were just playing within the rules and seemed to enjoy doing it.

What is the problem with that?

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