AP Photo/Fernando Vergara
The United States women’s national team will play for the bronze medal after Canada earned a stunning 1-0 upset over the international powerhouse in Monday’s Olympic semifinal.
The match was scoreless until Jessie Fleming scored a penalty for Canada in the 75th minute:
The shot was just out of reach of backup goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, resulting in the only score of the match. Starting goalie Alyssa Naeher, who was the hero during the quarterfinal victory over the Netherlands, was forced to leave with an injury in the 30th minute.
Canada held on for the win and will face the winner of Australia and Sweden in the final for a chance at their first-ever gold medal in women’s soccer.
The upset win was a breakthrough for Canada, which has earned bronze in the last two Olympics:
A gold medal would be the biggest moment in program history, while Christine Sinclair could add another achievement after already ranking as the top international goalscorer in history. The 38-year-old played 87 minutes in Monday’s win.
The United States, meanwhile, was unable to build off its 2019 World Cup win with another major trophy.
The Americans had plenty of chances to score, outshooting Canada 17-5 in the match, including a 6-2 advantage in shots on goal. They simply weren’t able to get anything into the back of the net, even after adding key subs Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press in the 60th minute.
It continued an up-and-down run of matches in Tokyo that featured just one win in 90 minutes. The USWNT also had one loss and one draw in group play before surviving the quarterfinal on penalty kicks.
“Obviously, our standards are perfection all the time, so we really never reached that, and we wanted the gold medal but we have a ton to still perform for,” Rapinoe said after the match.
The team will now compete for the bronze on Thursday against the loser of the other semifinal. After finishing in just fifth place at the 2016 Olympics, the United States will try to win its first soccer medal since 2012.