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Puddles and ridiculous conditions spoil (and help) USWNT's runaway win over Canada

Puddles and ridiculous conditions spoil (and help) USWNT's runaway win over Canada

The U.S. women's national team beat Canada on penalties Wednesday night in a ridiculous Gold Cup semifinal that, by any reasonable measure, should never have been played.

Heavy rain flooded Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego. Standing water covered the pitch and turned the first half into an absolute farce. The ball won't roll. Passes cannot travel more than 10 yards.

One of those passes, from Canada Vanessa GillCalm down USWNT The opening goal. It hit a puddle at the top of the Canadian penalty box, coming to a complete stop on a dime. American striker Jaden Shaw pounced.

Canada tied the game late in the second period. United States Forward Sophia Smith It seemed like he won the game in overtime. But the drama did not end there. In overtime of extra time, the USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naher He punches and misses a cross and collides with Gilles instead. After a one-minute video review, Canada was awarded a penalty kick, which Adrian Leon He scored the goal in the 127th minute to tie the score at 2-2.

In the shootout, Nahir redeemed herself. She saved three Canadian penalties to seal a wild win

But the burning question throughout more than 120 minutes was why the match wasn't postponed or canceled in the first place.

“This is so crazy,” former USWNT star Julie Foudy said Written on X During the first half. “Stop the match.”

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Referee Katia Garcia seemed to take this possibility into account. After several minutes of sliding and sliding Garcia paused the game, picked up the ball, and ran to the sideline, where the fourth official and match commissioner were stationed. Garcia rolled the ball. Stops hail on the immersion surface. Garcia raised her hands.

But then she picked it up and ordered the players to resume absurdity.

They soon resorted to kicking and chasing, in middle school football, if that.

Trinity Rodman She chased down a Canadian foul, but passed the ball – presumably because she couldn't push it through a deep puddle.

Lindsay Horan Try to play a long ball; I kicked up the standing water instead.

Both teams They completed less than half of their passes in the first half.

By now, if not all of the players were drenched in water, spending their downtime trying to wring out their waterlogged and mud-stained jerseys.

Almost every step brought rainwater splashing into the battle, blocking anyone who tried to dodge.

The coaches are concerned about the participants. San Diego Wave coach Casey Stoney tweeted to tournament organizers: “Player safety?????”

“Calling the game,” former USWNT midfielder Lauren Holiday wrote on X. “Don't wait another minute.”

However, the game was never suspended. It's not clear who made the decision to play by, or what criteria they used to make the decision.

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“It is solely up to the discretion of the referee as to whether the pitch is safe and playable,” a spokesperson for CONCACAF — the governing body for soccer in North and Central America, which administers the Gold Cup — told Yahoo Sports in a statement.

However, several referees explained that the decision is often made jointly with the match official, or even by the match official and other CONCACAF officials.

“In practice… [decision] “It's almost out of our control when it comes to this type of competition.”

The rain seemed to subside in the first half. Stadium employees carrying brooms rushed to push some of the stagnant water toward the sidelines. The second half was a bit less farcical, although it was still very chaotic – and was delayed by a few minutes due to technical problems with the referees' communications systems.

It was also a relative draw, and in the 82nd minute, Canada got the equalizer it probably deserved. Jordyn Heitema get over Emily Fox In the back mail. Her header left American goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher helpless.

In overtime, with the stadium somewhat less flooded, the United States recovered. Rose Lavelle He fired a header into the path of Smith, his fellow second-half substitute. Smith picked up the corner of the net.

Canada's late penalty was nullified. But Naeher's penalty saves sent the USWNT to Sunday's final, where they will meet Brazilian (8:15 p.m. ET, Paramount+, ESPN Deportes)

They will remember Wednesday night in disbelief. They will bookmark it as an absurd chapter in this eventful regional rivalry.

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But they also have to forget that. They learned almost nothing tactically or technically — because, as CBS color analyst Lori Lindsay noted during overtime, “not a lot of football was played.”

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