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.