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USWNT vs. Canada, 2020 Olympic semifinals: What to watch for

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We meet again, Canada.

Netherlands v United States: Women’s Football Quarterfinal - Olympics: Day 7 Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

The United States Women’s National Team can set their sights on a medal at the 2020 Olympics. They are guaranteed a chance to play for gold, silver, or bronze after defeating the Netherlands in the quarterfinals via penalties. Still, everyone knows their goal was gold. They want that gold medal, and they have to win 2 more matches to achieve that goal.

Standing between them and the gold medal match is Canada, a familiar foe to American fans. Our rivals to the north would love nothing more than to ruin the USWNT’s chances of getting that gold. The last time these teams met in the Olympics was that incredible 2012 Olympic semifinal that included Alex Morgan scoring the latest goal in a FIFA-sanctioned tournament match (123rd minute). Most fans will want this to be over much earlier given the time difference between Kashima and the American time zones, but everyone should expect an exciting match between these two teams.

What To Watch For

Stop the Canadian forwards. Christine Sinclair is the world’s most prolific all-time goalscorer, and you have to keep eyes on her. Janine Beckie also has scored a couple goals in this tournament, and she is playing with confidence. The Canadians will be without Jayde Riviere, who will miss the match due to yellow card accumulation, but the USWNT defense does not want to let Canada be great up front.

Press high, press often. Canada has seen the high press from the USWNT, and they have not responded well to it at any point. This is another match where Lynn Williams could have a magical game as she frustrates the Canadian defense into making a ton of mistakes and the American forwards can capitalize on it.

Let Crystal Dunn cook. Crystal Dunn has played human during this tournament, but she always seems to find another gear against Canada. So, set it up where she can be great and watch her work. Using the flanks and creating space for her and possibly Christen Press to operate is going to work in the USWNT’s favor.

Prediction

The USWNT feel it now. Canada is going to play them tough, but the USWNT get some confidence from an early goal and use that to ride to a 3-1 victory, assuring themselves of at least a silver medal.