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Late penalty leads Canada over USWNT in Olympic semifinal


For the second cycle in a row, the U.S. women’s national team leaves the Olympics in a disappointing fashion.

The USWNT suffered a 1-0 defeat to Canada on Monday morning and a gold medal is officially out of sight.

On one of the grandest stages, Canada defeated its neighbor for the first time in 20 years.

The game was won on a penalty kick in the 75th minute after Tierna Davidson took Deanna Rose out inside the box. It was not initially called on the field, but it became obvious with each replay during the VAR check that Canada was going to get a golden opportunity.

Native legend Christine Sinclair gave the ball to Jessie Fleming, who had ice in her veins, and delivered an arrow past Adrianna Franch.

You might wonder why Franch was in goal.

U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski was forced to make an unwanted substitution in minute 30 after Alyssa Naeher took an awkward fall that injured her right leg or knee. Initially, she tried to carry on, but after blasting the next ball that came to her, she kneeled to signal that she was taking herself out of the game.

With her, went her penalty-saving superpowers that could have had a major impact on the game.

In the end, if it came down to Naeher as the cape wearer once more, victory still was not certain with how the U.S. was playing.

Neither side managed a shot on target in the first half, and the Americans came out looking more likely to break through in the second. But Canadian keeper Stephanie Labbe was up for it and collected five saves once the floodgates were open.

Even with a refresh of the entire front line in the second half, Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, and Christen Press found themselves unable to leave a mark as the USWNT’s disjointed woes resurfaced on a handful of crucial plays.

Plenty of uncertainties lay ahead of the USWNT.

It can still snag a bronze medal on Thursday against Australia or Sweden, but those are the two teams it failed to beat, let alone score on, in group play.

The bronze medal game could mark the end of an era considering the overall lackluster Olympic display. Even if the Americans can capture the bronze, the aging core of the USWNT leaves Tokyo with fair questions, and it may be time to pass the torch to the next generation in a handful of positions.


  1. WNT coach must go, for 2 years he has done nothing to develop the young quad. He just played safe with VERY VERY OLD LAD for obtaining the meaningless records.

    For the old players: Please step aside for next generations, please do not Build The Road Blocks. Thank you

  2. I’ve been critical of the USWNT in the past because of their play and because they haven’t done a good job of developing or incorporating new talent but I don’t fault the women at all for pursuing better contracts for themselves or for individuals using their platforms to speak out on causes. There is a long history of using sports for political ends. The Olympics is probably the most obvious and ongoing example of that. The USA and the USSR approached the games as though the outcome would determine the winner of the cold war. Tommie Smith and John Carlos are looked back on as heroic but at the time of their raised fist protest were reviled, stripped of their medals and sent home in disgrace. Megan Rapinoe may or may not be of the caliber of those two gentleman, but her using her platform to advocate for rights and causes is well within the historical norms in this country.

  3. Concerning the lawsuit…” In defending itself against the pay claims, U.S. Soccer has argued that the women are paid according to their collective-bargaining agreement. The women sought and received some guaranteed pay rather than opting for the men’s deal that pays players for each game played, the federation has argued.”

    The women bargained for and signed a contract. The men and women as collective bargaining units have different contracts. Furthermore, the monies they are arguing for are determined by FIFA, which controls the rights and finances of the World Cups. The ladies sued the wrong group. Sue FIFA. Good luck.

  4. Sometime soon, maybe next month or the end of the year, but the US men will surpass the US women on the world soccer stage.
    The US women brought a team to Tokyo with an average age in the mid-30s, with no noticeable pipeline to fill a number of roster spots. They were shut out in 3 of 5 games, and never played like champions.
    All of on SBI know the trajectory of the US men’s team.

  5. this is all on Vlatko. He’d shown signs of panic already, documented here. But in constructing this team, his mistakes came home to roost. Rapinoe is past it and we’ve all seen the decline. Her stone cold nerves are amazing, but she’s slow and tires and her service is not what it used to be. Ellis handled Lloyd way better even tho Carly hated it but the team was better for it. O’Hara has struggled for a while now, and I love her game, but the miles on her body are showing in her play. Going with Williams? He didn’t even pick her originally. Switching up the CB pair after ALL this time? Abby was having some struggles but that reeks of panic, not genius, like the Williams gambit. Sam Mewis was the most consistent and productive player in the buildup to the Olympics, and he yanked her at halftime in the opening game; nice confidence booster–not. But panic, yes. I could go on. Tactics, supposedly a strength…he blew it. He better have them ready to play for the bronze or the rip session on his failings is going to be ugly, and I’ll start it

  6. so easy for some to belittle the USWNT who have done so truly very much for girls and women in not only the USA, but around the world. I find that behavior of yours Disgraceful, truly Disgraceful.

    • It honestly saddens me that you would say this. I think this is a really respectful forum full of people who take a lot of care in what they write. I don’t read any disrespect in anything that’s been said here. Everyone agrees the USWMT has inspired girls around the world because they play great soccer. Are they distracted? Who cares – impossible to prove. Do they have a right to speak their minds? Absolutely. Does it serve them well? Debatable.
      My beef is that they’re suing USSF, which is the organization that supports the whole program for both sexes and the development programs that will feed the next generation of senior teams. Of course it is their legal right, but it is my right not to like it. The issue of their pay has already been settled twice, once when they signed their contract, and again when a judge dismissed their case. It’s a drain. We don’t need it. As US soccer fans, we have a legitimate grievance because they are hurting the program. They’ll have another chance to negotiate a contract when the current one expires.
      For this position I’ve been indirectly called a misogynist and a troglodyte, and now I suppose a “disgrace” (twice, with a capital ‘D’). Come on – this is not offensive.

  7. Shout out to Dave P. for some good and measured takes here.
    Never want them to lose but trying to play a young person’s game with aging legs catches up to everyone at some point. I’m curious to see how many, if any, of the old guard steps aside here. Or is it more about retaining a platform than actual results?

  8. It’s great American soccer culture can be just as misogynistic as the rest of the world. We really are going places.

    I’m not broken up about the loss because they didn’t deserve to go as far as they did. They were objectively awful the whole tournament and never clicked into gear. Showing concern for social justice causes they believe in has nothing to do with it. Do you honestly think they were distracted because a bunch of overweight middle-aged dudes went out of their way to troll social media about it?

    • Bill Belechick famously squashed out any kind of public comment from his football players. Why? Because you team trumps your free country, as he would have put it, and “we don’t need that kind of cr*p on our team.
      I am in fact middle aged. I am not overweight, thank you very much, and I am not a misogynist. I am as coastal and blue and educated as the next guy or girl on this thread. But the USWMT engaged in a selfish, distracting, poorly reasoned, divisive public campaign over their pay. They did it the wrong way. They lost support. This is why you don’t do that. It is not misogyny to take issue with this team. Did their politics literally kick the ball into the net for Canada? Of course not, but athletes (male and female) need to keep their mouths shut, or the whole thing turns into the giant cluster that we have now in sports, and you get people rooting against their own national team.

      • A person does not lose free speech rights nor labor rights when they become an athlete, as continuing court cases have shown. The women were legally and morally justified to fight for increases in pay. With your attitude, players would still be treated like chattel, which was the case before Curt Flood fought for and won free agency.

      • I mean, who are you to say that ANYONE “needs” to keep their mouths shut? You don’t get to make that decision and rightfully so because whether you know it or not people, especially athletes, although many would say differently out of ignorance, can do more than one thing at one time! Protesting for equal rights and social justice is just as american as apple pie, so if people don’t like seeing “adults” fight for what they believe in, then don’t watch the proceedings, but I’d argue it’s the detractors who are not patriots because it’s what our armed forces fought for in the many of wars that we have, to give all people the right to freedom and justice at home and abroad(if necessary)!

    • Gary – I respect your opinion and I agree that an appeals court might define “equal work” differently. Any worker should absolutely have a right to negotiate a contract. The USWNT did have that right and did negotiate a contract, and it was honored, and then they sued anyway, because they decided in retrospect that they should have been offered a better contract. That’s one of the things that angers people about this. It is objectively BS in the sports world or any other world. Like any other negotiator, they were free to walk away when they signed it.
      Also, my view on this isn’t about legal freedoms. Just because you can speak your mind doesn’t mean you should. My issue is with the way they navigated this, which I think was divisive. Many many great athletes have had the wisdom to keep it zipped, for the good of the team and the game. You can negotiate perfectly well in private. It’s their choice – I’m just observing that the result is probably not what they want in the long term.

      • Ronniet that’s not fair – read it more carefully. I said athletes need to keep their mouths shut *to avoid this result of a lack of support*, not to keep me happy, and I stand by that. I agree I don’t get to decide who speaks, nor do I want to. I’ve been clear that it’s their choice. But in my opinion they navigated their issue unprofessionally, and they are burdening US Soccer with what I think is a frivolous law suit. I take issue with it because it drains resources from US Soccer, which has done incredible work and given us all a lot of joy. I think my position is well defended, I’m not a misogynist, and I’m not suggesting that we away anyone’s rights. Y’all are free to disagree – just do it on the substance.

    • @Dave P The USWNT won the World Cup doing and saying and representing the EXACT SAME WAY. Your point is wrong, history says so. It’s not why they lost since they won the WC in France beating all the euro powers on the way, even with our President at the time openly at war with them. You can have your feelings about the team, etc. but your point is incorrect; they won it all with the exact same ‘distractions’. Fact

  9. After the (fortunate) 1-1 draw against Sweden, the writing should have been on the wall that the U. S. needed to make some changes or face a similar or worse fate in the Olympics. This became more urgent when Sweden was arbitrarily taken from one group and put into the group with the U.S. at the behest of TV Sponsors. The fact that a number of our aging players were coming off injuries or maternity further limited our potential.

    In any case, any team which is held scoreless in regulation in 3 of its first 5 matches, is certainly not Gold Medal caliber. The U.S., however, should have seen that Canada was playing highly focused defense, with holding Brazil’s high-powered offense scoreless for 120 minutes. The only score line that I saw Canada possibly winning by was 1-0. And that would have come on a mistake if it indeed happened. But what I found so irritating was that I have commented a number of times about the mistakes that Tierna Davidson had made while being tired out at DB. My comment was that she should not be put back there, IN ANY MATCH WHICH COUNTED FOR ANYTHING, until such time as she has had at least 7 or 8 matches where she has played there with satisfactory results. Unless there were a number of injuries back there where coach Andonovski had no choice, that was a VERY Critical Error. You have to chalk that one up to the COACH!!!! But I see that as history repeating itself. At the 2016 Olympics, I made a vigorous comment about the fact that Allie Long was picked over Sam Mewis for the team. Long had no open field skills, yet they put her back on defense and who do you think the Swedish Goal-Scorer blew by on her way to scoring the goal which effectively knocked the U. S. out of the Tournament.

    In a bit of Irony, Canada picked Jessie Fleming to take the PK. As a UCLA Alum, I watched her for 4 years there, and in years 2 & 3, UCLA went to the final 4/8. It ended with PKs and Jessie missed hers in both years knocking UCLA out. Those were the last PKs she took there. However, as with some of our team, she improved and made the difference here and against Brazil in the shoot-out.

    The U.S. still has a chance to end this tournament on a winning note against Australia and pick up medals. So maybe they can put it together one last time!!!!

    Anyway, I still have a Gold Medal bet on Sweden, so that may be some consolation in an otherwise dreary tournament.

  10. You know, I found out today I’m an American soccer fan hypocrite today. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I missed a USMNT match. I am relentlessly optimistic for the men always! After the ladies match, I was not upset at all that the women lost today, but rather proud of Canada “ The Canadian men really impressed me as well”. That really bothers me. I don’t know if it is the ego of the woman’s team or the politics of a few that really aggravate me. All I know is that it’s a lot easier being the best at a new game than an old one, and it’s easier to stay the best with less competition. I just hope that their exit to Canada calms their rhetoric and the low ratings teaches them to keep politics out of sport reguardless of affiliation.

    • Mt I think that it was mainly Megan who was doing most of the talking. A number of other team members made posts taking different points of view.
      Since Megan was the Captain, she was quoted more frequently than the others. I think that her gripe centered on President Trump backing a State position that limited separate restroom facilities for Trans-sexual people.

    • Grow up. Somebody speaks their mind and that upsets you? Freedom of speech is not for those everyone agrees with, but for those who have unpopular opinions or it means nothing. As was pointed out in one of the Federalist Papers, the key to freedom is protection of the rights of the minority since everyone will be in a minority on some issue and the danger is that the majority will try to take away the rights o0f the minority.

  11. It is all about your focus. The USMNT has transitioned for “Soft tattooed millionaires” to playing with that American grit and pride. The USWNT has transition from that American Grit and Pride to individual political platforms. Focus on your job.

    • So you think the USWNT would have performed better if they had just shut up and play? That’s a lazy narrative that ignores that USWNT’s success at the last World Cup when they were at the height of their political exposure and the outspoken members of the USMNT. Seems like you’re nursing your political biases rather than analyzing the actual challenges facing the USWNT.

      • I don’t think anyone’s saying you can’t express a worldview and still play at a high level. Muhammad Ali did it, right? But there are some key differences. The USWMT SUED the (our) US soccer federation for “equal pay for equal work”. Let’s be clear: equal work would be playing the Mexican men’s team, as our boys did gloriously yesterday. The judge agreed with that POV and dismissed the case. But then on the opening day of the Olympics, of all days, the USWMT filed an appeal in the case. Their fairness argument is not intelligent, and they’re trying to build support for it by piggybacking on real social justice issues. They’re posing as some kind of warriors as if we don’t notice it’s their own pay they’re suing over. They are happy to divide the country over this issue and stoke the flames going into a tournament that represents peace, national pride, and selflessness. And they won’t stop arrogantly reminding us that they win more than the men. But they win so much because other countries don’t spend the same effort developing female athletes! Don’t they see the irony in this? They’re only in the position to make their selfish case because they benefit from the incredible support they already get!
        Finally, some of these athletes don’t want this. They came to play soccer and they’re caught up in the politics of a few bullies who are senior to them on the team. Can they really speak their minds? I doubt it. Does that dynamic affect their play? I’ll bet it does.
        So yes, maybe they can shut up and play now, and maybe they’ll play better.

    • Dave P–I think there is a good chance that the trial judge will be overturned on appeal. Your thinking is flawed. The issue is the accomplishments of the team(s), not who they play. The women have shown that they have made as much or more for US Soccer as the men have historically. If you lose at trial and you are convinced your case is just, then you should appeal.

      • Chiming I’m here ….Gary P….

        There is a singular open issue with the USWNT Equal Pay suit…

        Do you believe US Soccer should be on hook for the $66 million in FIFA WC bonuses that US Soccer never received?

        Where does that money come from?? Maybe drop grass roots soccer initiatives?

        From another Non-Fat middle aged soccer loving guy….I am personally offended that they expect this money with no regard to the fact it does not exist!!

        Furthermore, their ongoing legal battle drains US Soccer with legal fees while most in the “court of public opinion” who support them no nothing about the facts.

      • The accomplishments of a sports team have Everything to do with who they play against. So the team that wins the EPL Championship is to be considered as accomplished as the the team that wins the Premier league? They both win their games? They both play really really hard.

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