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2020 Tokyo Olympics

‘We need to look at ourselves’: Struggles catch up to USWNT in Olympic semifinal loss to Canada

Daniela Porcelli/Sports Press Photo

It had to happen at some point. Canada ended a 20-year skid against the United States to advance to the Olympic gold-medal match and send the U.S. to play for bronze, and there is no arguing that some of the writing was on the wall for the United States.

The Americans lacked cohesion and sharpness at the Olympics in a way which made this U.S. team feel almost unrecognizable from the 2019 World Cup-winning side, despite most of the roster carrying over. Canada had one good opportunity on the day — a penalty kick awarded after video review — and finished it, while the U.S. probed for long stretches without ever really finding any bite in the final third. It is a description which brings back memories of the U.S.’ 2016 Olympic quarterfinal exit, and the result is another which will sit poorly with the U.S. for some time. The Americans will play for the bronze medal, while their rivals Canada will play for gold for the first time.

Possession without purpose

The U.S. had 60% of the ball on Monday but that was largely by design from Canada, who absorbed pressure and frustrated the Americans from the opening minutes. The possession itself was largely low-quality, with the U.S. midfield trio struggling to connect passes and the starting front three failing to move off the ball enough to provide options.

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