I watched every second of the US vs. Canada semi-final game:
- I'm putting all my chips in the middle of the table here: that game will go down in history as maybe the top-five match ever played, regardless of the gender on the pitch.
- If Canada had lost 4-2 in regulation, it still would have been a HUGE accomplishment. The American squad boasts probably three of the greatest women footballers I've ever seen (Wambach, Morgan and Rapinoe). Hope Solo (US netminder) has not only has one the greatest names ever, but is EASILY the best goalie in soccer history (three Olympic gold medals, two-time Golden Glove FIFA Women's World Cup winner). Other than Christine Sinclair (who's cemented herself as a Canadian soccer icon), Canada is made up of really good, but not great, players.
- I have no problem with the referee calling the Canadian keeper for trapping the ball too long. Anyone watching could tell she consistently held on long enough for even the most casual of fan (aka, me) to notice.
- Forget the controversial call. To me, the biggest crime was how Canada left the right side of their net COMPLETELY open on the right side US corner, resulting in the American's first goal. I don't know if this was a coaching oversight or a breakdown in communication, but with the goal open like that, that ball goes in eight out of 10 times - at the very least.
- Now this point might sound far fetched, but hear me out: Canada should have let the Americans take the lead. Think about it: with the US's size and sheer athleticism, playing them when they're a) pissed off and b) looking to tie and win the game isn't a very favorable equation if you're the opponent. And it's also no secret the American's are poor defensively. So why not let them play with the lead? Canada had no problem scoring on their limited opportunities. With that said, allowing an opposing team to consciously move ahead on the score sheet is, for lack of a better term, stupid and should probably be avoided. I'm crazy though, so I'd probably try it at least once if I had a coaching career.
I'll also say that both teams left it all on the field. And, as an athlete, that's all you can really expect of yourself. Above anything else, win or lose, I was honored to have witnessed such determination.
As an athelte, I've been there before. Sometimes the only solice you can take is the effort you put in. I think after a few days, our Canadian women will realzise that.
Here's looking to Rio.