Olympic Recap: U.S. vs. Canada
by Tiffany Weimer
In my previous post about the France vs. Japan game I stated that it was one of the most intense women’s soccer games in the history of life.
Little did I know that I would actually watch the most intense women’s soccer game in the history of life not long after I typed those words.
The U.S. Canada game was one for the history books and I’m not just talking about women’s soccer, but soccer in general. (Yeah, I said it).
The U.S. ended up winning the game 4-3 in a game that resembled a heavyweight bout that seemed to be over multiple times before another seemingly knock out punch was delivered.
Although the U.S. seemed to have the run of play in the opening part of the half, Christine Sinclair scored her first of three in the 22nd minute after Melissa Tancredi controlled a Marie-Eve Nault entry pass and delivered a ball into the path of Sinclair. Canada’s all-time leading scorer took two touches past the American defenders and struck the ball authoritatively past a helpless Hope Solo. The goal seemed to ignite the Canadians, and swing the balance of play.
The Canadians went into the half up 1-0 over the Americans.
The beginning of the second half showed again a determined Canadian side that the U.S. were struggling to break down, until the 55th minute. With a Canadian defender abandoning the front post to defend the two players the U.S. had at the corner, Megan Rapinoe took advantage and whipped the ball in near post. In a mess of players, the ball caromed past a stunned Canadian side, leveling the game at 1.
Yet Sinclair seemed intent on making the night hers. She struck brilliantly in the 67th minute off of a Diana Matheson corner kick, out-jumping the U.S. defenders and heading the ball into the top corner.
Rapinoe replied again with a brilliant strike from outside of the 18-yard box. She was given just an inch and she took it, hitting the ball off the far post and in at the 70th minute.
Three minutes later, it was Sinclair again. Yes, again.
In the 73rd minute she headed home a cross from strike partner Tancredi, past Solo to put the Canadians up 3-2.
In the 78th minute, a free kick was awarded inside the Canadian’s 18-yard box after goalkeeper Erin McLeod was called for holding the ball more than six seconds.
The six-second rule states that the goalkeeper must release the ball after holding it in her hands for six seconds, a call that is not made often.
That very free kick led to a Canadian handball in the box and a penalty kick to the U.S.
In the 80th minute, Wambach placed her penalty kick calmly into the corner, sending it past McLeod and putting the U.S. level with the Canadians for the third time in the game.
The score remained 3-3 as the final whistle blew, sending the game into overtime.
The overtime was much of the same, with chance after chance for both teams.
It only seemed fitting that the game would finish in the last seconds of overtime, as it seemed destined for penalty kicks. A Heather O’Reilly cross was met by the head of Alex Morgan, who had disappeared from the score sheet since the U.S.’ first game against France, and in the 123rd minute of the game, the U.S. put the final dagger in the Canadians.
Pia Sundhage’s side came out on top of one of the most gruelling, intense games the soccer world has ever seen, and it is safe to say that an old rivalry has been renewed. Canada looks to be a shadow of the side that was hammered 4-0 in front of a home crowd in the CONCACAF final just a few short months ago, and one now capable of going toe-to-toe with the best teams in the world.
The U.S. will face Japan in the Gold Medal game while the Canadians will play France in the Bronze Medal game.
Thursday August 9th
8am ET: Canada vs. France
2:45pm ET: United States vs. Japan
Tiffany Weimer grew up in Connecticut where she earned herself the opportunity to play soccer for Penn State University. She holds the Big Ten all-time goals record (91) and was a 2x runner up for the Hermann Trophy. From Penn State, Tiffany played for many teams all over the world, had a handful of call-ups to the US U21 and senior women’s national teams and at 29 years of age, continues to enjoy scoring goals for her team. In 2010, with co-founder Khaled El-Ahmad, Tiffany created Our Game Magazine and has been at the helm ever since. Aside from the magazine and playing, Tiffany is also involved in coaching for girlsCAN Football and blogging on her personal site.