KASHIMA, Japan (Aug. 2, 2021) -- The U.S. Women’s National Team’s bid for a gold medal came up short after falling to Canada 1-0 in the semifinals at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Despite having the better of the attack for much of the match and outshooting Canada 17-5, a 75th-minute penalty kick from midfielder Jessie Fleming proved to be the difference in the regional rival’s 62nd meeting all-time, just the USA’s fourth loss in the series and first since 2001.
The USWNT will face the loser of the Australia-Sweden semifinal in the Bronze Medal Match in Kashima on Thursday, Aug. 5 at 4 a.m. ET.
The first half was physical from the start, but the USA got off on the right foot and created pressure in the attack in the first few minutes. Canada grew into the game as the half wore on, but neither team was able to put the final ball on target as the first 45 minutes passed without any shots on goal.
The USA lost goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher in the 30th minute as she had to be taken off due to a knee injury. In the 22nd minute, she landed awkwardly after leaping to defend a service and stayed down for a few minutes. While she stayed in the match for another eight minutes, Naeher had to be replaced by Adrianna Franch who was making just her seventh career USWNT appearance.
Head coach Vlatko Andonovski swapped out his full forward line at the hour mark, bringing on Carli Lloyd, Christen Press and Megan Rapinoe for Tobin Heath, Alex Morgan and Lynn Williams. Lloyd’s appearance marked her 311th cap for the USWNT, tied with Christie Pearce Rampone for second all-time. The fresh legs made an instant impact as Lloyd fired the game’s first shot on goal in the 65th forcing Canada goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe to make a leaping save. Julie Ertz and Lindsey Horan also forced Labbe into action with on-target headers in the 68th and 69th.
In the 72nd minute, Canada sent a long ball over the top of the U.S. defense and Tierna Davidson got tangled up with Canada’s Deanne Rose just inside the top left corner of the penalty area. While no penalty was called on the field, a VAR review prompted referee Kateryna Monzul to point to the penalty spot. Canada’s Jessie Fleming sent a hard-hit attempt to the right side of the net. The penalty marked Canada’s first shot on goal of the evening and just one of two.
The U.S. fought hard for an equalizer in the final 15 minutes and had a number of opportunities down the stretch. An 86th-minute header from Lloyd that hit the crossbar was perhaps the best chance, but the USA wasn’t able to create an equalizer.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
CAN – Jessie Fleming (penalty), 75th minute: While the U.S. was on the front foot offensively for much of the second half, Canada took its first shot on goal with a penalty. Tierna Davidson was just a moment late to a challenge on Deanne Rose and her clear attempt followed through into Rose’s leg at the edge of the penalty area. After a VAR review, Fleming stepped up to the spot and fired a shot to the right side of the net just out of reach of substitute goalkeeper Adrianna Franch’s diving save attempt. CAN 1, USA 0
The USA is now 51-4-7 overall vs. Canada, the most-frequent opponent in USWNT history. It’s the USWNT’s first loss to Canada since March 11, 2001, in the group stage of the Algarve Cup.
With the result, head coach Vlatko Andonovski is now 23-2-3 in his first 28 games.
Andonovski made three changes from the starting line-up against the Netherlands on Friday. Tierna Davidson replaced Abby Dahlkemper in defense, Rose Lavelle replaced Samantha Mewis in the midfield and Alex Morgan replaced Carli Lloyd at striker.
Crystal Dunn and Alyssa Naeher started all five matches for the USA at the Olympics. Naeher had played every minute for the U.S. in Tokyo prior to being subbed off in the 30th minute.
Horan and Lloyd are the only two players to appear in all 17 matches for the U.S. so far in 2021.
Captain Becky Sauerbrunn earned her 192nd cap, moving her into a tie with Brandi Chastain for 13th on the all-time USWNT appearance list.
-U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Women’s National Team vs. Canada
Date: August 2, 2021
Competition: Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Semifinal
Venue: Ibaraki Kashima Stadium; Kashima, Japan
Kickoff: 5 p.m. local / 4 a.m. ET
Weather: 81 degrees; cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
CAN 0 1 1
CAN – Jessie Fleming (Penalty Kick) 75th minute
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher (18-Adrianna Franch, 30); 5-Kelley O’Hara (3-Samantha Mewis, 81), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Capt.), 12-Tierna Davidson, 2-Crystal Dunn; 8-Julie Ertz, 9-Lindsey Horan, 16-Rose Lavelle; 7-Tobin Heath (15-Megan Rapinoe, 60), 13-Alex Morgan (10-Carli Lloyd, 60), 21-Lynn Williams (11-Christen Press, 60)
Substitutes not used: 14-Emily Sonnett, 20-Casey Krueger
Head coach: Vlatko Andonovski
CAN: 1-Stephanie Labbe; 10-Ashley Lawrence, 14-Vanessa Giles, 3-Kadeisha Buchanan, 2-Allysha Chapman; 17-Jessie Fleming, 11-Desiree Scott, 5-Quinn (7-Julia Grosso, 60); 16-Janine Beckie, 12-Christine Sinclair (Capt.) (19-Jordyn Huitema, 87), 15-Nichelle Prince (6-Deanne Rose, 60, 9-Adriana Leon, 90)
Substitutes not used: 18-Kailen Sheridan, 4-Shelina Zadorsky, 21-Gabrielle Carle
Head coach: Bev Priestman
Stats Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 17 / 5
Shots on Goal: 6 / 2
Saves: 1 / 6
Corner Kicks: 12 / 5
Fouls: 8 / 6
Offside: 1 / 0
USA – Kelley O’Hara (Caution) 32nd minute
Referee: Kateryna Monzul (UKR)
AR1: Lucie Ratajova (CZE)
AR2: Maryna Striletska (UKR)
4th Official: Stephanie Frappart (FRA)