Women's soccer: Canada stuns USA with VAR-awarded penalty

Posted at 1:37 AM, Aug 02, 2021

The United States women's soccer team hadn't lost in its last 44 matches prior the Olympics.

They have now have done it twice in 13 days.

Canada beat the United States for the first time in two decades with a 1-0 win on Monday in Kashima, sending the Americans to the bronze medal match via Jessie Fleming's conversion of a VAR-awarded penalty.

Vlatko Andonovski's team is now at serious risk of failing to win a medal for the second time in five years after never missing the podium in the previous five Olympics.

After the game, Megan Rapinoe admitted being crushed at the loss but motivated to go for bronze. The team appeared stunned, with Carli Lloyd crouched to the turf and visibly emotional.

Rebounding will be a task but they'll get the chance to do it soon when they face the loser of Sweden versus Australia, while Canada will meet the winner for gold.



SEE MORE: USA women's soccer loss to Canada feels like end of an era

First half sees U.S. lose quarterfinal hero Naeher

The U.S. asserted itself in Canada's third after a too-brief spell of Canadian possession to open the game.

A couple of corner kicks came to nothing for the U.S., who did allow a pair of counterattacks to the Canadians in the first quarter-hour, the more dangerous one thwarted by Becky Sauerbrunn's sliding tackle on Nichelle Prince.

Tierna Davidson was then called upon to stop a Janine Beckie cross from reaching the heart of the U.S. six, as Canada sent a few warning signs and won two corner kicks of their own.

Quarterfinal hero Alyssa Naeher was injured tending to a Canadian cross in the 19th minute, replays showing her ankle bent in an awkward manner, and she was able to continue for a few minutes. Adrianna Franch replaced the two-time World Cup champion.

Canada kept the midfield congested and coach Vlatko Andonovski would have to find a way to get service to his forwards, as a pair of wayward Alex Morgan headers and a mishit Tobin Heath side volley were their only notable attacking moments of the half.

VAR awards decisive penalty to Canada in second half

The United States started to find some joy down Canada's right side in the second half, with Lindsey Horan pulling the strings and Crystal Dunn firing forward from her left back position.

Heath used a backheel flick to send Lynn Williams toward the end line but the offside flag was raised as Williams' shot was for naught.

Andonovski turned to his veterans in the 60th minute, taking off Williams, Morgan, and Heath in favor of Megan RapinoeChristen Press, and Carli Lloyd.

The area of attack remained the left, and Lloyd tried to surprise Stephanie Labbe and succeeded -- at least in winning a corner -- as the off-balance Canadian keeper pushed the ball over her crossbar.

But out of nothing, Canada was awarded a penalty after Video Assistant Referee saw Davidson's clearing attempt catch the leg of Deanna Rose. There was nothing intentional about it, and it wouldn't matter. Jessie Fleming smashed her penalty home and Canada was within 15 minutes of its first defeat of the United States in 20 years.

Lloyd headed a cross at Labbe and then thumped another off the crossbar as the match entered its final five minutes.

SEE MORE: Rapinoe on USA loss: 'We didn't have that juice. It sucks'