FanDuel - WFBC

August 06, 2012

U.S. Defeats Canada in Epic Women's Soccer Semifinal: The U.S. women's soccer team fell down a goal three times to Canada on scores by Christine Sinclair, but tied the Olympic semifinal 3-3 in regulation and won on a last-minute header by Alex Morgan. Megan Rapinoe scored twice and Abby Wambach found the net after two controversial penalties on Canada. "I have never seen a team in an elite-level game given an indirect free kick in the box for the opposing goalie being deemed to have held onto the ball longer than the six-second time limit," writes Grant Wahl, who called the match "one of the greatest games I've ever seen."

posted by rcade to olympics at 05:49 PM - 41 comments

There appears to be an amazing women's soccer match on, but it's hard to see through the gas being talked by Brandi Chastain. I really need Brandi to master the art of the forehanded compliment.

On edit: wow. Also, "The US grabs victory from the jaws of a tie!" Keep trying, Brandi.

posted by yerfatma at 05:13 PM on August 06

Glad to have the BBC commentary and not the old girls' brigade at NBC: cracking match, neutrals behind Canada (especially after the US got a dodgy penalty) but you can't fault the US for playing till the end.

posted by etagloh at 05:30 PM on August 06

The Canadian team got gassed by the refs on the third American goal in women's soccer.

Outside of the fact I can't remember the last time a delay of game was called on a goaltender, the handball call on the free kick was the most blatant ball to hand movement I think you will see. Kudos to the Americans for late game heroics, but man, it's pretty hard to swallow the way the Canadians played to see obscure and blatantly awful calls lead to a goal by the favoured team.

posted by dfleming at 05:35 PM on August 06

I could see the handball being called, but the time-wasting call was jaw-dropping.

That has to be one of the greatest women's soccer matches of all time. Every goal was the result of phenomenal offensive play except for the penalty. I'm glad it didn't end up in PKs.

posted by rcade at 05:54 PM on August 06

Semi final, rcade.

posted by tommytrump at 06:12 PM on August 06

Always exciting games, and the idea the US gets another huge match versus Japan is awesome.

The whole "holding the ball" thing was ridiculous, but a fun game to watch.

posted by dyams at 06:12 PM on August 06

Semi final, rcade.

Fixed like a U.S./Canadian soccer match.

posted by rcade at 06:31 PM on August 06

I would not want to meet Melissa Tancredi in a dark alley. She seemed to thoroughly enjoy her tackles.

posted by yerfatma at 06:49 PM on August 06

Fixed like a U.S./Canadian soccer match.

Either fixed or simply brutally incompetent officiating.

I haven't found a link yet, other than tweets from Toronto Star columnist Cathal Kelly but the Canadian women were not impressed:

Melissa Tancredi to the Norwegian referee: "Put on your American jersey. That's who you played for tonight."

GK Erin McLeod says she received no warning on time wasting. Even American coach Pia Sundhage said afterward, "I've never seen that before."

Christine Sinclair on what ref said when she asked about 6 second violation: "She actually giggled and said nothing. Classy."

posted by tommytrump at 07:12 PM on August 06

I just got back from the inlaws where we watched the game.
During the Canadian broadcast, no one could come up with an answer as to why the keeper was penalized. If it really was a delay of game call, that's fucking ridiculous.
As soon as they lined up for the free kick, I turned to my wife and said "either this goes straight in, or Canada gets called for a hand-ball, and the penalty kick goes in".

I hate being right, sometimes.

Every goal was the result of phenomenal offensive play except for the penalty.

The first USA goal (from the corner kick) was weak. 99% of the teams I've played on have someone who stands on the near post to stop just that very thing from happening.

As a keeper myself I insist on it, as it saves me the worry about having to charge at a low kick like that.

That said, it was an amazing match.
I'm feel bad for Sinclair, as she almost single-handedly willed her team to victory.

Man, I hope she at least gets a bronze on Thursday.

posted by grum@work at 07:16 PM on August 06

Lots of self-appointed refereeing experts from the US on that SI thread...

Either fixed or simply brutally incompetent officiating.

The US also got a corner near the end of extra time that was a terrible decision, and while I'm always happier to call cockup over conspiracy, there were times when I was wondering during that one.

She seemed to thoroughly enjoy her tackles.

There was some agricultural tackling all round. If the US team plays like that in the final against Japan, with a different referee, they may not end with their full complement of players.

posted by etagloh at 07:34 PM on August 06

Yeah, the US has definitely been . . . active. In the game versus Colombia where the announcers made such a big deal of the Colombian play, I noticed the US women were pretty physical too, they were just a lot more clever about it. That said, and in no way excusing the poor refereeing (I missed part of the middle), the Canadians were at least twice lucky to not have Tancredi sent off.

posted by yerfatma at 08:46 PM on August 06

99% of the teams I've played on have someone who stands on the near post to stop just that very thing from happening.

On every corner? I think that goal goes in because of Rapinoe's kick and the body work done by one of the Americans to keep a defender off the ball. It was brilliant.

Nationalism aside, I thought Canada deserved the win as much as the U.S. I loved Sinclair's face after her third goal. She was so far in the zone they'd have to send Martin Sheen to get her out.

posted by rcade at 09:37 PM on August 06

"On every corner?"

Yes. Every team I've ever played on has put players on the front and far post for every corner. For many of them I've been the near post defender and the Goalkeeper would ream me out if I moved away further than arm's length before the ball was well and truly cleared.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:02 PM on August 06

"On every corner?"

Yes.

On.

Every.

Corner.

It's the default defence strategy in amateur soccer, and something I was taught when I was 5 years old, and still implemented when I was playing university intramural soccer 33 years later.

If you see a pro team not utilize it, generally it's because the there was a quick corner or lazy defenders.

posted by grum@work at 01:30 AM on August 07

There are two positions where you must always place a defender at a corner. Regardless of whether they are marking someone.

One is on the near post. A driven corner gives you not much time to react, and this gives cover to the keeper. You can have a defender on the far post too, but in general a corner takes longer through the air to reach that side, and the rest of the defence and goalkeeper therefore have time to shift across.

The second position is often overlooked by the casual viewer. This is on the corner of the 6 yard box at the near post. Count how many times in a Premier League match that a corner is cleared from this position. Chelsea would bring Didier Drogba back just for this role, freeing up other defenders to man mark.

posted by owlhouse at 02:44 AM on August 07

Canadians agree to purge any memory of the questionable officiating in return for US formal declaration of Celine Dion as one of it's citizens.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:38 AM on August 07

We don't want her. Nor Alanis either.

We want Ronnie Hawkins and the guys from Crowbar. Fur hats and all.

That would help take some of the sting out of the fact that we name some of our arenas after office supplies, while the Canadians name some of theirs after beer.

Is there a safe site somewhere online to watch a rebroadcast or full replay of this epic match?

posted by beaverboard at 11:28 AM on August 07

Norway, we want our maple syrup back.

posted by tommytrump at 12:25 PM on August 07

FIFA is now investigating the Canadian Women's post-game actions in response to the referee's calls. They also release a bland reading of the laws in response to the referee's calls stating that what the referee says on the field is final.

I know it's consistent across sports, but getting punished for speaking out against a referee's calls is a little much. They shove cameras in your face IMMEDIATELY after having your heart broken and you're not only expected to speak, but in some sports get fined for not speaking to the media...and if you get a little too real with how you feel, bam, penalties.

Which has led to the most boring interviews on the planet because what else can you say but pure pablum? It's a weird exercise in controlled reality that's a little close to big brother for my liking.

posted by dfleming at 03:02 PM on August 07

FIFA is now investigating the Canadian Women's post-game actions in response to the referee's calls.

From that wording, I thought one of them had physically confronted the ref.

If it's just complaining out loud, then that's FIFA making a mountain out of a molehill.

posted by grum@work at 04:01 PM on August 07

Putting aside for the moment all questions about the officiating, just about the time when I consider soccer the most boring waste of time that masquerades as a sport, something like US v Canada comes along. It was riveting, well worth watching, and, since I'm half Canadian, half satisfying at the end.

OK, now let's take up the officiating again. Frankly, it stank. Supposedly, the Canadians were warned about delay, but they say not. He said, she said, and who's correct? If it's a rule, it should be enforced, but if the enforcement is selective, then the referee must swallow the whistle. The hand ball call on the free kick was dubious at best. BUT... There were a lot of fouls that were not called, I believe more by Canada than by the US, and that ought to be a clue to the officiating. Were the officials biased? Probably not. Were they flat out incompetent? Probably yes.

'Let me tell you' (her favorite phrase), Brandy Chastain sounds like she had been imbibing in the beverage for which she was named. Her drivel adds nothing to my understanding or enjoyment of the game. 'I have to say' (the alternate favorite) Hope Solo got it right in her tweets.

posted by Howard_T at 05:11 PM on August 07

FIFA is now investigating the Canadian Women's post-game actions in response to the referee's calls.

Bullshit to that. This is like punishing them twice. Once by making the bad calls and a second time for criticizing the bad calls. Criticizing bad calls isn't the same as bad sportsmanship.

posted by Joey Michaels at 07:44 PM on August 07

FIFA wouldn't know bad (or good) sportsmanship if it was up them with an open umbrella.

posted by owlhouse at 09:03 PM on August 07

We want Ronnie Hawkins and the guys from Crowbar. Fur hats and all.

Damn .. we have to keep Celine and give up Ronnie? Just doesn't seem like a good deal.

Hell, throw in Unknown and it's a deal.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:41 PM on August 07

Wambach, Countess of Manchester.

posted by beaverboard at 06:58 AM on August 08

Even assuming that the ref was okay to be swayed by a player like that (I mean, how often will players now chase referees around the field pointing out calls they should be making?), isn't it typically (and I use that term loosely) a yellow card and not a kick? Like, it's not even the call that's peculiar, it's the particular penalty levelled at the time which increased the likelihood that a minor infraction would have a major result.

I don't blame Wambach for what she did, because she should do what it takes to win, but if a referee starts allowing themselves to be swayed by a player (who isn't counting against her own goalie, for starters) then what does that say about the neutrality of the refs? You can expect an increase in the amount of lobbying in games this ref is officiating, because clearly it works.

posted by dfleming at 08:31 AM on August 08

I don't blame Wambach for getting in the refs head. Both sides are lobbying the ref throughout the game. I'm sure there were Canadian players chirping about so-and-so on the American side tugging on jerseys, or something like that.

I blame the ref for not giving an initial warning to the Canadian keeper for a call that I have NEVER seen made in a soccer game in my life, except when I was a keeper at age 9.* If the keeper had been warned before, then I understand the call, but no one has confirmed there was ever any warning.

Imagine if they suddenly enforced the 10-second clock for free throws during the NBA finals, but only on Lebron James in game 7.

* Back then, they had kids league rules about how many times you could bounce the ball as the keeper, and how many steps you could take before kicking it. I would get confused and end up bouncing it one too many times (or taking too many steps) and finally the ref called me on it after warning me twice. They ended up with a kick just like in the US/Canada game. At age 9, however, they just drilled it into the (tiny) wall and play went on. During my next practice, I spent the entire time getting the bounce/step count right in my head.

posted by grum@work at 10:03 AM on August 08

You can expect an increase in the amount of lobbying in games this ref is officiating, because clearly it works

So I'll admit I haven't followed women's soccer at all until now. But I have to assume the women watch and model their game somewhat after the many big name world cup players. There are teams (cough .. Italy for example) that have made embellishment a core part of their game.

What soccer needs is a rule that allows officials to yellow and red card players for all of the crap that goes on during the game that isn't sport, including Wamback's whining.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:13 AM on August 08

What soccer needs is a rule that allows officials to yellow and red card players for all of the crap that goes on during the game that isn't sport, including Wamback's whining.

Already on the books, called dissent. I see players getting carded frequently for yapping at the refs more than the ref in question finds acceptable.

posted by billsaysthis at 10:38 AM on August 08

Wambach's counting was brilliant. One more reason she's my favorite soccer player on the planet. If the ref doesn't tell her to stop, there's nothing wrong with her doing it.

One of the joys of the women's game is that they don't embellish very often. A jolt that would send a male striker into total sniper collapse is shrugged off and play continues. Alex Morgan ignored a couple of them in the Canada game and kept going for the goal.

posted by rcade at 10:42 AM on August 08

"If Abby has done that, good on her. Wambach's a great player, she's a pro, she knows how to win matches. She found a loophole. Our players can learn from that." -- Canadian coach John Herdman

This is the perfect response.

We're going to have to watch out for this guy and his team. He seems like a pretty strong motivator. His pre-game comments got into the heads of the U.S. players, who were less aggressive than Canada.

posted by rcade at 10:45 AM on August 08

Looking at this, Tancredi's foot stomp on Carli Lloyd's face looks intentional to me.

posted by rcade at 11:28 AM on August 08

Back then, they had kids league rules about how many times you could bounce the ball as the keeper, and how many steps you could take before kicking it.

Glad to know I'm not the only one who went through that. To this day I get a little nervous/ concerned when the goalie on my team wanders around with the ball in his area.

posted by yerfatma at 12:26 PM on August 08

In the youth soccer league I coach in, there's a zero tolerance rule for yapping at the ref. Coaches are not supposed to have any verbal contact with the ref while the game is on the clock. Team parents can be carded for addressing comments to the ref from the sideline.

So we use whatever means available to find ways to communicate during the game. Some cordial, some less so.

For example, when a ref is shy about using his or her whistle and is taking a passive approach to game management, I'll call out to our players: "If he's not going to use his whistle, don't wait for him to blow it, just play on".

Sometimes, if the opponent is playing us in an especially unsportsmanlike manner without being called to account by the ref and one of my players goes down, when I go out to check on the player, if she's OK and ready to come back up, I tell her to stay down and be still. I hold up a thumbs up to the parents to ally any concern. Eventually, the ref comes over, and I use that opportunity to quietly issue a few calm words to the ref in a very frank, private manner without appearing to directly address the ref.

In my league, ref negligence and indifference directly affects player safety. I'm not going to have a 12 year old keeper get kicked around like a rag doll by opposing forwards when the kid is already on the ground and has had full possession of the ball with both hands for several seconds.

I am firmly and shamelessly from the Billy Tubbs school of sideline communication. When he coached at Oklahoma, there was a game that was being horribly reffed. Fans began throwing debris on the court. The officials asked him to tell the fans to stop throwing stuff.

Tubbs grabbed the courtside announcer's mike and produced the following golden moment.

posted by beaverboard at 12:35 PM on August 08

I never saw that Tubbs moment before. How did he not get tossed?

posted by rcade at 12:40 PM on August 08

He got his ass fined pretty good afterward, I think by the league commissioner's office. It faded quickly into oblivion because Norm Stewart collapsed at that same game and his health became much more of a concern, as it should have.

posted by beaverboard at 01:09 PM on August 08

Wambach's counting was brilliant. One more reason she's my favorite soccer player on the planet. If the ref doesn't tell her to stop, there's nothing wrong with her doing it.

Aside from being an annoying jerk, no, there isn't. Gamesmanship is fine.

But any self-respecting ref would eventually turn to her and say, "Do you have the fucking whistle? Then shut the fuck up and go play and let me officiate."

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:37 PM on August 08

That self-respecting ref sounds like a dick. Wouldn't it be easier to just keep the other team from wasting so much time in the first place?

posted by tron7 at 10:53 AM on August 09

Of course it would, and if the goal was to do that, the ref should have gone to the keeper and issued a warning. She did not, but she did apparently let a player talked into making an almost completely unheard of call.

As for the dick thing, an official's job isn't to not be a dick, it's to work the game. The player's job is to play. When a player doesn't grasp that, they have to be reminded of it, sometimes in a not-so-gentle fashion.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:44 PM on August 09

So it's cool for the official to have thin skin but the player should be unaffected by every blown call. You've been talking to the umpires in my baseball league I see. My campaign for robot officitaing continues.

posted by tron7 at 02:25 PM on August 10

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