I’m just going to state for posterity what should be remembered about today’s Olympic semifinal, in which the U.S. women beat Canada by the odd goal in seven:
- Christine Sinclair is a brilliant player, and it’s nice to see her finally getting a worthy showcase, even in a loss.
- Fellow Portland alum Megan Rapinoe should now be alongside Abby Wambach, Hope Solo and Alex Morgan as the stars of the U.S. team. She’s already one of the best crossers of the ball in any level of soccer. Her second goal today was simply superb.
- Referee Christiana Pedersen wasn’t up to the task. Many of her calls, including the barely precedented delay of game call on Erin McLeod and the subsequent harsh handball call, favored the USA. But she also let far too much go uncalled, including a “Wambach sandwich” on a set piece in which the U.S. target forward was held and clobbered in the head by two different players.
- The referee should not take away from the performance of the players. The game was a thrill to watch.
- It’s a pity this game wasn’t the final. Canada deserves a medal. That’s the best game I’ve seen that team play, and it comes on the heels of a sturdy quarterfinal performance.
Classic games usually have their share of messiness and controversy along with the brilliance. This one certainly did. And it’s one in which both teams deserve to be remembered for their efforts.