Tuesday, August 7, 2012

All Hail Alex Morgan #TeamUsa

This was the type of games movies are made of .

The U.S. women's soccer team emerged victorious from the semifinals at the Olympic Games on Aug. 6. The U.S. beat Canada with a final score of 4-3 in a tough match that remains controversial. The U.S. will face Japan on Aug. 9 in the finals and will give fans the opportunity to essentially watch a rematch of the 2011 World Cup.

Fighting for Victory at the Semifinals
The physical match on Aug. 6 had the teams exchanging leads often while reeling from controversial referee calls. Canada's Christine Sinclair scored three times in the semifinals, but it was not enough to stop the U.S. from taking the lead in overtime. Megan Rapinoe made two goals and Abby Wambach scored one, but it was Alex Morgan's final goal in the 123rd minute that has garnered the most attention. She prevented the match from relying on penalty kicks to determine the winner.

The Soccer Controversy at the Summer Olympics
Several decisions from the referees at the semifinals have been questioned, and Christiana Pedersen has been at the center of the controversy. Although there have been multiple complaints from Canada about the refereeing at the Aug. 6 game, the decision against Erin McLeod has been debated the most. Referee Christiana Pedersen claimed that Canada's goalie Erin McLeod held on to the ball for too long, and her actions indirectly led to the penalty kick that was later awarded to the U.S.

Erin McLeod countered the referee's claims by explaining she did not hold the ball for more than 6 seconds. However, there was another problem with the referee's decision. If McLeod had actually held the ball for more than 6 seconds, then Pedersen could have simply issued a warning if it was a first offense. McLeod claims that there was no warning. In general, I have seen referees resort to giving fouls only if initial warnings have been ignored.

Advancing to the Finals
The U.S. has advanced to the finals and will face Japan on Aug. 9 at Wembley Stadium. The match will be shown on the NBC Sports Network and NBC Soccer channel. It will give the U.S. women's soccer team the chance to redeem its loss to Japan at the 2011 World Cup.

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