Aug. 6, 2012
MANCHESTER, England – With heroic feat after heroic feat from both sides, Monday’s Olympic semifinal match between the U.S. and Canada at Old Trafford was an instant classic. In the end, it was Alex Morgan’s header in the closing seconds of extra time that lifted the Americans to a 4-3 victory over Canada and Tennessee alums Rhian Wilkinson and Marie-Eve Nault.
During the waning seconds of injury time in the second period of extra time, Morgan broke the 3-3 tie when she elevated over the Canadian defense to head in a cross from U.S. teammate Heather O’Reilly.
The game featured legendary performances from all of the big names. Canada’s Christine Sinclair pulled off a hat trick. Megan Rapinoe punched in two goals for the U.S. Abby Wambach scored her ninth goal in nine games and 143rd of her career. And, of course, Morgan came up with the biggest goal at the very end.
Wilkinson played over 120 minutes and Nault saw over 101 minutes of action on defense. Both UT alums were defensive anchors for Canada throughout its run to the semifinals.
In the first half, Sinclair gave Canada a 1-0 lead in the first half in the 22nd minute.
The second half seemed like a completely different game with physical play and heart-pounding moments. Rapinoe got the U.S. on the board in the 54th minute to knot the game at 1-1.
Sinclair answered with her second goal in the 67th minute, starting what would be an incredible six-minute stretch. Rapinoe pounded one in from the top of the box to tie the game at 2-2 in the 70th minute. Shortly after, Sinclair broke through a double team off a corner to put in her third goal of the game, lifting the Canadians to a 3-2 lead.
After Nault was tagged with a penalty in the Canadian box, Wambach ripped the penalty kick into the far left side of the goal in the 80th minute to tie things up at 3-3.
Wilkinson, Nault and Canada will take on France on Thursday at 8 a.m. ET in the bronze medal match. The U.S. will have a 2011 World Cup final rematch against Japan in the gold medal match Thursday at 2:45 p.m. ET.