U.S. soccer fans just experienced some serious highs and lows in a period of under 24 hours.
First, the U.S. men’s national soccer team defeated Mexico to take home the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Las Vegas on Sunday night.
But in the early hours of Monday morning, half a world away in Tokyo, the U.S. women’s team suffered a heartbreaking loss to Canada in the Olympic semifinal match.
USMNT take down rival Mexico
Some of the U.S. men’s team’s most thrilling matchups in recent years have been against rival Mexico.
In that respect, Sunday’s game certainly did not disappoint.
The game was back and forth from the start, with both the U.S. and Mexico controlling and ball for long stretches at certain points—although Mexico performed better in terms of possession overall.
The U.S. team wasn’t exactly in top form, sometimes looking desperate to keep up.
But their scrappy approach worked, and although it wasn’t the most artful example of play, they kept a clean sheet against Mexico with a score of 0-0 at the end of regulation time.
A goal that won a championship! 🏆
— Gold Cup (@GoldCup) August 2, 2021
They held the 1-0 lead for several more minutes to clinch the CONCACAF Gold Cup win.
A meaningful moment for the USMNT
Sunday’s win was a major victory for the U.S. team, which has struggled at times to gain recognition on an international stage.
They’re once again absent from the Olympics, where the U.S. women’s team typically shines as one of the top teams. The men’s team, on the other hand, has failed to qualify for three Summer Games in a row, lasting appearing in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Toughing it out to win against Mexico showed a level of grit that isn’t always apparent for the U.S. team.
It was also a big moment for Major League Soccer, with more MLS players present on the roster than usual due to some of the team’s premier players already engaged in preseason prep for the European club team season.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup also followed the U.S. men’s 3-2 win over Mexico at the first CONCACAF Nations League Finals in June.
The next big test for the USMNT will come next month, when the team heads to El Salvador to kick off the World Cup qualifying matchups.
A rough loss for the U.S. women’s team
Just a matter of hours after the Concacaf Gold Cup concluded, the USWNT kicked off the semifinal match against Canada.
The U.S. team came out strong, maintaining possession for the first ten minutes of the game.
But once Canada started to ramp things up, the U.S. faltered.
A huge blow came about 20 minutes into the first half when goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher suffered an ankle injury.
As Canada continued to press on, the U.S. never quite got back in sync, although they performed well in limiting shots on goals.
The punishing heat was clearly taking its toll on the team as well, with players making sloppy mistakes as the game wore on.
Canada hadn’t made much headway in testing Franch in goal, but they finally got their chance late in the second half after a penalty in the 18-yard box by defender Tierna Davidson.
Canada’s Jessie Fleming took the penalty kick and confidently sent it sailing into the right corner of the net.
Jessie Fleming puts the #USWNT on the brink of being sent to the bronze-medal game
— Planet Fútbol (@si_soccer) August 2, 2021
With just 15 minutes left on the clock, plus another 5 in stoppage time, the U.S. pushed hard offensively, ultimately getting a decent shot on goal with a header from Carli Lloyd in the final minutes of the game.
But they couldn’t manage to get the ball in the net, and Canada secured their shot at a gold medal as well as their first win over the U.S. in 20 years.
When is the next USWNT game?
Although they came up short against Canada, the U.S. women’s team isn’t out of the running for an Olympic medal.
On Thursday, August 5, they’ll take on Australia to find out which team will take home the bronze.
Airing at 4 a.m. ET, the game promises to be an exciting one as the U.S. tied Australia 0-0 in group play.
The gold medal matchup is scheduled for Friday, airing at 10 p.m. ET on Thursday. Canada will take on Sweden, who started off the tournament with a decisive 3-0 win over the U.S.
In the 2016 Olympics, Sweden fell 1-2 to Germany in the final match, earning their first Olympic medal with silver.
Canada, on the other hand, took home bronze in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.