Canada suffered another loss to the rival United States in women’s soccer, but coach John Herdman says this time the Americans benefited from “bizarre” officiating.
The U.S. moved on the gold-medal game at the London Olympics with a 4-3 extra-time win over Canada on Monday, overcoming a hat trick by Canadian captain Christine Sinclair.
But Herdman was livid with Norwegian referee Christiana Pedersen for a pair of calls that led to the third American goal. With Canada leading 3-2, Pedersen awarded the Americans an indirect free kick right outside the Canadian box after penalizing goaltender Erin McLeod for holding the ball for more than six seconds.
On the ensuing kick, Pedersen charged Marie-Eve Nault with a handball in the penalty area, and Abby Wambach converted the penalty to tie the game 3-3 with about 10 minutes left.
Herdman said “it felt like it was America and the referee against” the Canadians.
“She’ll have to sleep in bed tonight after watching the replays, she’s got that to live with,” he said “We’ll move on from this, I wonder if she’ll be able to.”
Canada hasn’t defeated the U.S. since 2001, and Sinclair says this loss particularly stings because of the officiating.
“We feel like we didn’t lose, we feel like it was taken from us,” Sinclair said. “It’s a shame in a game like that that was so important, the ref decided the result before it started.”
Canada will play France for the bronze medal on Thursday, while the U.S. takes on Japan for gold.