The U.S. Women's National Team is at a fork in the road after their incredibly disappointing World Cup, according to former soccer star-turned-analyst Taylor Twellman, who tells TMZ Sports the team has to make changes, or they'll be passed up by the world.
The ex-USMNT forward -- who played professionally from 2000 to 2010 -- didn't pull his punches when analyzing the USWNT's shocking loss to Sweden in Melbourne, Australia ... and their overall performance in the world's biggest soccer tournament.
"In this World Cup, technical, tactical -- they were completely outdone!" the 43-year-old said. "It was obvious."
Twellman continued, not mincing his words ... "They didn't score a goal in 238 minutes. You are the number one nation in the world, that's inexplicable. So now this is a watershed moment."
Of course, the team, tourney-betting favorites, were looking to make history by becoming the first country to win 3 World Cups in a row. Unfortunately for American fans, that didn't happen.
After beating Vietnam 3-0 (they were around 7 goal faves), the U.S. tied both Portugal and the Netherlands, barely squeaking into the knockout round of 16, before losing to Sweden on penalty kicks. The loss dashed any hopes of a third straight W.C. ... and sent the women on a flight headed back home.
Now, for how to fix things ... Twellman has an idea of what needs to be done.
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. I think top to bottom, the United States Federation on the women's side has to look at development, they have to look at the collegiate part of it, they have to look at the development within the professional leagues," Taylor said, continuing, "Are the professional leagues developing the players the right way? Is technique a huge part of it, or is it just about being bigger, faster, and stronger than the other countries? It's not gonna work anymore."
Twellman added ... "This women's World Cup has exposed the failure of the United States women to develop, and this generation I think did not carry on the mentality that winning comes first, everything else is secondary, and I think some of that criticism has been correct on that."
Of course, the mentality is precisely what U.S. soccer legend Carli Lloyd pointed out last week when she called out her former team for celebrating in the wake of another subpar performance.
"I really think it's telling that she brought it up because what we saw during the World Cup kind of backs Carli Lloyd's opinion," Twellman said.
Courtesy of Fox Sports
We also talked to Taylor, who is Apple's top soccer analyst, about Lionel Messi'samazing start with Inter Miami ... and just how far the team can go with the soccer immortal playing at this level.
"I get it, Lionel Messi and [Sergio] Busquets just showed up but this is the worst team in Major League Soccer regular season," Twellman said.
"I think they can get to the Final but I think the semifinal and final are gonna be the two most difficult games if they get passed the quarterfinals."