PREVIEW: USWNT Set to Face Canada in Semifinals of Tokyo 2020 Olympics
With a spot in the Olympic final on the line, the U.S. Women’s National Team will take on Canada in the Tokyo 2020 semifinals on August 2 at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium in Kashima, Japan. Kickoff between the Concacaf foes is slated for 5 p.m. local/4 a.m. ET and will be available for viewing in the United States on the USA Network and Telemundo with streaming coverage also available through NBCOlympics.com and through the Telemundo App.
The U.S. advanced to the semifinal following a dramatic quarterfinal victory over the Netherlands on July 30 in Yokohama. The USA fell behind 1-0 in the 18th minute, stormed back to take a 2-1 lead on goals in the 28th and 31st, but gave up an equalizer early in the second half. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher saved a penalty kick late in regulation to help send the match to extra time and made two crucial stops during the penalty shootout to send the USA through to its sixth Olympic semifinal. Canada also needed extra time and penalties to advance to the semis, topping Brazil, 4-3, from the spot following a scoreless 120 minutes of action.
The USA has played Canada more times than any other opponent in program history and this will be the third meeting between the nations at the Olympics. The USA earned a 2-1 overtime win in the quarterfinals of the 2008 Olympics as Natasha Kai scored the game-winner in Shanghai, China, and the teams played an epic semifinal in the 2012 Olympics, a match the USA won 4-3 in the last minute of overtime stoppage time on a header from Alex Morgan.
The winner of Monday’s matchup will face the victor of the second semifinal between Sweden and Australia (Aug. 2 at 8 p.m. local/7 a.m. ET) in the gold medal match. That game will from Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium on Aug. 6at 11 a.m. local /10 p.m. ET on Aug. 5 stateside. The bronze medal match will be played at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium on Aug. 5 at 5 p.m. local/4 a.m. ET.
USWNT OLYMPIC WOMEN’S SOCCER ROSTER BY POSITION (CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (3): 22-Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 5), 18-Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 6), 1-Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 77)
DEFENDERS (7): 17-Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City, ENG; 74/0), 12-Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 37/1), 2-Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 120/24), 20-Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 35/0), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 143/2), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 191/0), 14-Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 57/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 8-Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 114/20), 9-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 102/23), 16-Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 60/15), 19-Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 8/1), 6-Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 28/4), 3-Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage; 81/24)
FORWARDS (6): 7-Tobin Heath (Unattached; 175/35), 10-Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 310/126), 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 184/111), 11-Christen Press (Unattached; 153/64), 15-Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 183/59), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 39/12)
AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR
From the first match through the USA-Netherlands nightcap, the quarterfinals of Tokyo 2020 provided excitement from start to finish. Canada opened the four-game set by besting Brazil on penalties after a scoreless 120 minutes, followed by a thriller between Australia and Great Britain that also went to extra time, courtesy of a Sam Kerr equalizer in the 89th minute to draw the level at 2-2. Australia scored twice in extra time to win 4-3, negating a hat trick and 115th minute goal from Great Britain’s Ellen White. Sweden scored twice in the second half to top hosts Japan, 3-1.
Three of the teams in the semifinals came from Group G, a testament to the strength of the competition the USA faced during group play. Sweden won the group with nine points while the USA finished second and Australia advanced through as one of the top two third-place teams. Canada took second in Group E, registering one win and two draws during the group stage.
Concacaf leads the way with two teams in the semifinals, while UEFA and the AFC have one representative each in Sweden and Australia, respectively.
As was the case in the quarterfinal, any matches that go to overtime in the semis will be followed by 30 minutes of overtime and then penalty kicks if necessary. Additionally, teams are allowed one extra sub if a match in the knockout rounds goes into overtime. Teams are allowed five substitutes each – a first for a world championship event – plus one potential concussion substitute according to the new established protocols.
While the USA received four cautions over the course of the first four games – issued to Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan and Kelley O’Hara -- all yellow cards have been wiped clean for the semifinal round, meaning they would not be suspended for a subsequent yellow card issued during Monday’s match.
INSIDE THE SERIES: USA vs. CANADA
The USA and Canada are set to meet for the 62nd time overall in a series that dates back to 1986 when the USWNT was in just its second year in existence. Canada is the most common opponent in USWNT history and the USA leads the overall series 51-3-7. While the Americans have had a long history of success in this series, the 15 meetings since 2011 have featured three ties and five one-goal wins for the USA.
The most recent matchup between the teams at the Olympics came in the 2012 Olympic semifinal at Wembley Stadium, a 4-3 victory for the USA in a thrilling affair, punctuated by a header from Alex Morgan in the 123rd minute – which still stands as the latest goal in FIFA and Olympic history – to send the Americans through to the final. Standout forward Christine Sinclair tallied a hat trick for Canada, but a Megan Rapinoe brace and a penalty kick from Abby Wambach kept the match level until Morgan’s header in the waning seconds.
The most recent meeting between the teams overall came on February 18, 2021, at the Cup in Orlando. Rose Lavelle scored in the 79th minute to lift the USA to a 1-0 victory to kick off the three-game tournament. The USA threatened on a number of set piece opportunities throughout the evening, earning 13 corners to Canada’s five and several free kicks in dangerous territory. After creating quality chances and knocking on the door for much of the night, the USA finally broke through off a free kick when Lavelle, a second-half substitute, pounced poor clearance in the penalty box and fired home for the game’s lone goal.
On June 30, the International Olympic Committee agreed to a more flexible approach towards the participation of the alternate players in the Olympic Football Tournaments, ruling that all participating countries are now entitled, if they choose, to reconstitute their teams ahead of every match. This means that while each team must still only have 18 players on its game day roster for each Olympic match, teams now can choose those 18 from a total of 22 players – the original 18 named to the Olympic Team plus the four named alternates, who are now members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team. The IOC made it clear that this is an exception made only for the Tokyo 2020 Games and does not create a precedent for future Olympics.
The IOC also ruled that a player must be on an 18-player game day roster in order to be considered an Olympian and receive a medal if her team does win one. With former alternates Catarina Macario, Jane Campbell and Casey Krueger appearing on the USA’s 18-player roster for the July 24 match vs. New Zealand and Lynn Williams making the roster against Australia, all 22 players on the USA’s roster are now officially deemed Olympians.
USWNT EYES OLYMPIC HISTORY
Four-time Olympic gold medalists, the U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team had advanced to the gold medal game of every Olympic Women’s Soccer Tournament that had been contested until 2016, when the Americans were knocked out in penalty kicks in the quarterfinal round by Sweden. The USA won the inaugural gold medal in 1996 in Atlanta, won silver in 2000 in Sydney and then won three straight golds after standing atop the podium in Athens, Greece in 2004, Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.
The USA’s four gold medals are the most by any nation in the history of the Olympic Soccer Tournament – women’s or men’s – and its five total medals lead all women’s teams in the competition. The USA’s five appearances in the Gold Medal Game are also the most in competition history, with Brazil – who finished runners up in 2004 and 2008 – the only other team to make multiple trips to the Olympic final.
Sweden finished runner-up to Germany in 2016 while Canada has won bronze in each of the previous two Olympics. Prior to Tokyo, Australia had never advanced past the quarterfinal in any of its previous three Olympic appearance.
2021 USWNT MEDIA GUIDE
The 2021 U.S. Women’s National Team Media Guide is available for download. The Media Guide features all the history and statistics of the USWNT, as well as full bios on technical staff and the current top players, information on the USA’s Youth National Teams, and general important information on U.S. Soccer.
USA ROSTER NOTES
All 19 of the USA’s field players have seen action so far this Olympics, joining Sweden, Brazil and Canada as the only teams to use all available field players in the group stage.
Alyssa Naeher is the only USA player to have played the full 390 minutes so far, but Crystal Dunn has played 374, good for 12th among all field players at these Olympics.
Naeher and Dunn are the only players to start all four games for the USA in the Olympics.
Carli Lloyd has the most Olympic appearances on the roster with20 and the most Olympic goals with eight. Tobin Heath, who along with Lloyd is competing in her fourth Olympics, has made 16 Olympic appearances.
Lloyd’s 20 career Olympic appearances rank second in USWNT history, trailing only Christie Pearce Rampone with 22 while Heath’s 16 Olympic appearances are tied with Julie Foudy, Kate Markgraf, Kristine Lilly, Joy Fawcett and Hope Solo for third in USWNT Olympic history.
The USA’s 22-player roster averages 99 international caps per player and has a combined total of 140 Olympic appearances and 23 Olympic goals, courtesy of Lloyd (8), Alex Morgan (6), Megan Rapinoe (3), Crystal Dunn (1), Rose Lavelle (1), Lindsey Horan (1), Christen Press (1), Samantha Mewis (1) and Lynn Williams (1).
Six different players have scored for the USA at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the most distinct scorers the USWNT has had at an Olympics since 2008, when seven different players found the back of the net.
Lloyd and Morgan rank second and third, respectively, for the most Olympic goals scored in USWNT history, trailing only Abby Wambach, who scored nine goals combined at the 2004 and 2012 Olympics.
Ten players have made their Olympic made their Olympic debut for the USA during Tokyo 2020: Six on July 21 against Sweden – Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Rose Lavelle, Kristie Mewis, Samantha Mewis and Alyssa Naeher –three more on July 24 against New Zealand – Emily Sonnett, Catarina Macario and Casey Krueger – and Lynn Williams on July 27 against Australia.
The USA has advanced out of its group in each of its seven Olympic appearances, winning the group five times and finishing second in Tokyo 2020 and at the inaugural games in 1996, where the USA would go on to win gold.
Including 2020, the USA has now reached the semifinals in six of its seven trips to the Olympics. On each of its previous five semifinal appearances, the USA has won and advanced to the gold medal match.
So far this year, 12 players have scored the USA’s 43 goals: Megan Rapinoe (7), Christen Press (6), Samantha Mewis (6), Alex Morgan (4), Lindsey Horan (4), Carli Lloyd (3), Lynn Williams (3), Kristie Mewis (2), Tobin Heath (2), Margaret Purce (2), Rose Lavelle (2) and Catarina Macario. Three of the USA’s 45 goals in 2021 have been own goals.
Seventeen different players have also tallied an assist in 2021: Carli Lloyd (6), Christen Press (5), Lindsey Horan (4), Samantha Mewis (3), Rose Lavelle (2), Megan Rapinoe (2), Kristie Mewis (2), Crystal Dunn (2), Julie Ertz (2), Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, Emily Sonnett, Casey Krueger, Sophia Smith, Tierna Davidson, Tobin Heath and Lynn Williams.
Overall, 19 different players have been directly involved in at least one of the USWNT’s 45 goals in the 2021 calendar year.
Press (6 goals, 5 assists) leads way with 11 goal contributions followed by Samantha Mewis (6 goals, 4 assists) with 10 and Rapinoe (7 goals, 2 assist) and Lloyd (3 goals, 6 assists) with nine goal contributions each.
IN FOCUS: CANADA | FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
FIFA World Ranking: 8
Olympic Appearances: 4th (2008, 2012, 2016, 2020)
Best Olympic Finish: Bronze Medal (2012, 2016)
Overall Record in Olympics: 17-9-5 (GF: 31, GA:22)
Record vs. USA: 3-51-7
Head Coach: Bev Priestman
CANADA OLYMPIC WOMEN’S SOCCER TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Stephanie Labbe (FC Rosengard, SWE), 18-Kailen Sheridan (NJ/NY Gotham FC, USA), 22-Erin McLeod (Orlando Pride, USA)
DEFENDERS (7): 2-Allysha Chapman (Houston Dash, USA), 3-Kadeisha Buchanan (Olympique Lyon, FRA), 4-Shelina (Tottenham Hotspur, ENG), 8-Jayde Riviere (University of Michigan, USA), 10-Ashley Lawrence (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA), 14-Vanessa Gilles (FC Girondins Bordeaux, FRA), 21-Gabrielle Carle (Florida State University, USA)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 5-Quinn (OL Reign USA), 7-Julia Grosso (University of Texas, USA), 11-Desiree Scott (Kansas City, USA), 17-Jessie Fleming (Chelsea, ENG), 20-Sophie Schmidt (Houston Dash, USA)
FORWARDS (7): 6-Deanne Rose (University of Florida, USA), 9-Adriana Leon (West Ham United, ENG), 12-Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC, USA), 13-Evelyne Viens (NJ/NY Gotham FC, USA), 15-Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash, USA), 16-Janine Beckie (Manchester City, ENG), 19-Jordyn Huitema (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA)
CANADA ROSTER NOTES
Canada earned its semifinal berth by playing to a 0-0 tie with Brazil over 120 minutes before winning the penalty kick shootout. Brazil out-shoot Canada 16-13 while putting six shots on goal to Canada’s two, but Jessie Fleming, Ashley Lawrence, Adrianna Leon and Vanessa Gilles all converted in the shootout while goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe came up big to make to save two Brazilian kicks to send Canada to its third consecutive Olympic semifinal. Labbe also made six saves on the night.
Canada qualified for the knockout stages by virtue of a second-place finish in Group E, picking up five points with a win and two draws. After opening the competition with a 1-1 draw against hosts Japan, Canada topped Chile 2-1 in its second group stage match and played Great Britain to a 1-1 draw to close out group play. Janine Beckie scored both goals in the win over Chile, while forward and team captain Christine Sinclair scored against Japan an Adriana Leon found the back of the net against Great Britain.
While Canada has only scored four goals in four games, its traditionally stingy defense, led by world class center back Kadeisha Buchanan, has only allowed three.
Defender Jayde Riviere is suspended the semifinal after receiving two yellow cards over the first four games.
Following its loss to Brazil on the final match day of the 2021 Cup, Canada is unbeaten in its last eight matches – four friendlies and four games at the Tokyo Olympics. Over that eight-game stretch Canada is 3-0-5 and has posted five clean sheets.
One of the most experienced and respected players in women’s soccer history, Sinclair is by far the most-capped player on Canada’s roster, making 302 appearances for her country. Just the fourth player in international soccer history to amass 300 caps, Sinclair reached the milestone in Canada’s opening match of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – in which she also scored the opening goal – and joined USWNT standouts Kristine Lilly (354 caps), Christie Pearce Rampone (311) and Carli Lloyd (310) in the 300-cap club.
With 187 international goals, Sinclair is also the leading goal scorer – men’s or women’s – in international soccer history, passing the USA’s Abby Wambach for the title early in 2020 during Olympic qualifying. The 2020 Olympics are the fourth Olympics and ninth world championship event for Sinclair, who made her international debut in 2000 at age 16.
The 25-year-old Buchanan leads Canada in minutes played this Olympics, going the distance in each of Canada’s four matches at Tokyo 2020.
Janine Beckie, who was born in Colorado, ranks second on Canada’s Olympic roster in overall goals, with 33 goals in 79 caps.
Nearly every player on Canada’s roster has played in the United States at one point either professionally or collegiately. Canada’s roster features four current collegians in Deanne Rose, Julia Grosso, Jayde Riviere and Gabrielle Carle and nine players plying their trade in the NWSL. Allysha Chapman, Nichelle Prince and Sophie Schmidt play for the Houston Dash where they are club teammates with the USA’s Kristie Mewis and Jane Campbell. Evelyn Viens and Kailen Sheridan play for NJ/NY Gotham FC with Carli Lloyd, Erin McLeod is at Orlando Pride with Alex Morgan, Quinn plays for OL Reign with Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle, Christine Sinclair is club teammates with Crystal Dunn, Becky Sauerbrunn, Adrianna Franch and Lindsey Horan at Portland Thorns FC, and Desiree Scott plays for Kansas City.
Additionally, Kadeisha Buchanan and the USA’s Catarina Macario are club teammates for Olympique Lyon in France while Janine Beckie and Abby Dahlkemper are both at Manchester City, which was the club home of Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis prior to their return to the NWSL. Labbe also had a long spell with the North Carolina Courage before signing in Sweden while was teammates with Alex Morgan at the Orlando Pride and then later with Tottenham Hotspur.