The last time Canada beat the USA in women's soccer Christine Sinclair
was still in high school.
It took 20 years, but Canada snapped a 36-game winless streak against the USA with a 1-0 win in the Olympic women's soccer semifinals.
The game's only goal came in the 75th minute when Jessie Fleming
, who played college soccer at UCLA, scored on a penalty kick past U.S. keeper Adrianna Franch
, who was in the game because Alyssa Naeher
, the hero of the quarterfinal win over the Netherlands, was injured and had to leave the game in the 30th minute.
The penalty was a VAR decision, following one of Canada's few excursions into the U.S. end in the second half. Tierna Davidson
got tangled up with Canada substitute Deanne Rose
, and Rose, who played at the University of Florida, went down. No foul was initially called by Ukrainian referee Kateryna Monzul
Davidson had been inserted into the starting lineup in place of Abby Dahlkemper
, who has struggled throughout the tournament.
The USA looked listless in the first half when neither team registered a shot on goal. It dominated the second half following the entrance of Megan Rapinoe
, Carli Lloyd
and Christen Press
in the 60th minute. The USA's best chance came on a Lloyd header off the top of the crossbar in the 86th minute.
Canada keeper Steph Labbe
, the hero of Canada's shootout win over Brazil in the quarterfinals, finished with six saves. She had little to do in the first half when the USA failed to generate any kind of sustained pressure in the Canadian half. Usually, the Americans thrive on opposition turnovers, but they again looked very sluggish and rarely won loose balls in the first half.
The loss was the USA's second in five games, matching the total number of defeats in the previous six Olympics. It has now been shut out three times at the Tokyo Olympics -- it had been shut out just twice in its first 32 games -- and has allowed seven goals, the most it has ever allowed in an Olympic tournament.
Canada's victory comes nine years after the last USA-Canada meeting at the Olympics. In an epic match, the USA won, 4-3, to advance to the gold-medal game at the 2012 Olympics.
The USA will return to Kashima for Thursday's bronze-medal game. Canada will play Friday (Thursday evening in North America) for the gold.
Thursday's result means that the USA will go without the gold for the second straight Olympics after winning four of the first five women's soccer competitions.
It also assured Canada of a medal in women's soccer for the third straight Olympics. It took bronze in 2012 and 2016.