The last time the U.S. women’s national team faced Canada in an Olympic semifinal match, it resulted in one of the most memorable matches in the history of the women’s game. Fans will expect nothing short of a compelling matchup when these two rivals meet up again on Monday with a spot in the 2021 Olympic gold-medal match on the line.
The No. 1-ranked USWNT, the defending World Cup champion, is the favorite entering the match with its star-studded roster. No. 8-ranked Canada hasn’t defeated the USA in any match, competitive or friendly, in 20 years. But when the neighboring countries play in major tournaments, you could never tell that the all-time series was that lopsided.
They’ve faced each other twice in Olympic knockout matches in Beijing 2008 (quarterfinals) and London 2012 (semifinals), and both matches needed extra time, with the USA prevailing in each instance. The epic 2012 semi, which featured a hat trick by Christine Sinclair, finished 4-3 for the Americans, and it was decided by the latest goal scored in Olympics history by Alex Morgan.
That result still irks Canadian fans, who feel the USA capitalized on a generous amount of stoppage time granted by the referee. But more than just revenge, the Canadians will be fueled by the desire to move up on the medal podium from bronze (2008 and 2012) to gold or silver. Overcoming the USA, which has played in every gold medal match except for one (2016), would achieve that goal for Canada for the first time in program history. The USA, meanwhile, is on the hunt for its fifth gold medal and first since 2012. The winner will face Sweden or Australia in the final on Thursday.
Based on results in the tournament thus far, the match projects to be another tight affair. Defense continues to be Canada’s strong suit, despite conceding goals in three of its four matches. And the No. 1-ranked U.S. women’s team looks vulnerable at these Olympics (1-1-2 record), although roster management by the U.S. coach has played a role. If No. 8 Canada can stifle the talented U.S. forwards, it will have a chance to pull off the upset provided Sinclair (below), Janine Beckie or Nichelle Prince can come up with the big play in attack.
How to watch USA vs. Canada Olympic semifinal
- Date: Monday, August 2
- Time: 4 a.m. ET
- TV channels: USA Network
- Spanish-language TV: Telemundo
- Streaming: fuboTV, NBCOlympics.com, TelemundoDeportes.com, NBC Sports app and Telemundo Deportes app (with user authentication)
- Canada streaming: CBC.ca
USA vs. Canada will air live on USA Network and Telemundo at 4 a.m. ET. Both networks are available to be streamed in the USA on fuboTV (free 7-day trial).
All Olympic soccer matches are also streamed in the U.S. on NBCOlympics.com, TelemundoDeportes.com, NBC Sports app and the Telemundo Deportes app — all with user authentication.
The match will be streamed in Canada on live broadcast on CBC.ca.
USWNT vs. Canada projected lineups
With Canada likely sitting deep, it’s fair to expect that Vlatko Andonovski will field his most creative lineup (featuring both Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan in midfield), with set-piece specialist Megan Rapinoe in the starting XI. If the USWNT takes the lead and the game begins to get stretched, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath would be strong options off the bench.
It will be interesting to see if Canada coach Bev Priestman brings back Allysha Chapman at left back on short rest after she went 109 minutes in the quarterfinal against Brazil. The more likely scenario is that Jayde Riviere plays at right back with Ashley Lawrence moving to left back. Vanessa Gilles also played the entire match against Brazil and despite her outstanding performance, the rested Shelina Zadorsky could get the nod.
USWNT projected starters (4-3-3, left to right): 1-Alyssa Naeher — 2-Crystal Dunn, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 17-Abby Dahlkemper, 5-Kelley O’Hara — 9-Lindsey Horan, 8-Julie Ertz, 16-Rose Lavelle — 15-Megan Rapinoe, 10-Carli Lloyd, 11-Christen Press
Canada projected starters (4-2-2-2, left to right): 1-Stephanie Labbe-GK — 10-Ashley Lawrence, 4-Shelina Zadorsky, 3-Kadeisha Buchanan, 8-Jayde Riviere — 5-Quinn, 11-Desiree Scott — 12-Christine Sinclair, 17-Jessie Fleming — 16-Janine Beckie, 15-Nichelle Prince
USA vs. Canada: Odds & prediction
In 10 matches this calendar year the Canadian women’s national team has allowed more than one goal just once (to Brazil in a 2-0 loss in February), and it has only scored more than a goal in three of those 10 matches. So a low-scoring match should be expected, even though that didn’t occur way back in the 2012 Olympic semifinal (4-3 final score for the USA).
If you’re taking the conventional pick and sticking with the favorite USA, there are several ways to play the odds based on goal totals (scored and allowed). In 16 matches played this year, the USWNT has only been shut out twice: both came in these Olympics against Sweden (3-0 loss) and Australia (0-0 draw), although they had plenty of scoring opportunities in both.
Prediction: USA 1, Canada 0
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
- Canada to win (90 mins): +425
- Canada to advance: +220
- Draw (90 mins): +260
- USA to win (90 mins): -135
- USA to advance: -285
- USA to win by one goal: +205
- USA win and over 1.5 total goals: +115
- USA win and under 1.5 total goals: +575
- USA under 1.5 goals scored: -105
- USA to win in shutout: +180