The United States fell to Canada for the first time in 20 years for a 1-0 defeat in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic women’s soccer semifinals on Monday. Canada will go on to play for the gold medal for the first time, while Team USA will be up for bronze only on Thursday.
The clean sheet is indicative of another catastrophic showing by the United States offensively, who failed to tally for the third time in five Olympic matches. While dominating on the ball and in territory and finishing with 60% of possession, the USA failed to put a shot on goal until the 65th minute.
They were uninspired, lackadaisical, and looked like they met in the parking lot before the match in terms of creativity. Full credit to Canada should be given for frustrating them and keeping their shape defensively.
A penalty conceded by the USA Tierna Davidson for a tackle on Canada’s Deanne Rose in the 72nd minute was the difference. Though it required VAR review and was certainly against the run of play, it was fairly given by the laws of the game.
An injury to No. 1 keeper Alyssa Naeher in the 18th minute forced her withdrawal in the 30th. Substitute goalkeeper Adrianna Franch was left with not much to do until the penalty, which was flawlessly taken by Canada’s Jessie Fleming. No matter who was in net, it wasn’t being stopped.
There will be deserved questions about the tactics and roster chosen by USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski in his first major tournament, but those will have to wait until after Thursday. After winning four of the first five gold medals in women’s soccer, the Americans are looking at two straight Games coming away with no medal at all.