Canada's women's soccer team has suffered Olympic heartbreak once again at the hands of its archrival.
Alex Morgan scored in the 123rd minute Monday to lead the No. 1-ranked United States to a 4-3 victory over the seventh ranked Canadians in the semifinals of the London Olympics, delivering a dagger in the heart of a squad that had paced the Americans goal for goal all night long.
Canada's captain Christine Sinclair recorded a hat trick - goals No. 141 through 143 of her illustrious career - to lead her team in what was almost a massive upset.
But as the possibility of penalty kicks loomed large, Morgan rose to meet a cross and deftly placed a header past Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod, continuing Canada's 11 years of hurt. Canada hasn't beaten its North American rival since 2001 - a span of 27 games.
The Canadians will play France for the bronze medal on Thursday in Coventry, while the U.S. will battle Japan, 2-1 winners over the French, in the other semifinal.
Canada will still play for its first medal in Olympic soccer history and what would be the country's first Summer Games medal in a traditional team sport - not counting rowing or equestrian - since 1936.
Megan Rapinoe scored twice for the U.S., while Abby Wambach scored on a penalty kick in a gripping game played in the historic confines of Manchester United's Old Trafford Stadium.
Sinclair's first goal came in the 22nd minute when she collected a nice chip from Melissa Tancredi, cutting to the right past American defender Kelley O'Hara before firing the ball low and hard past American goalkeeper Hope Solo.
The two teams would trade goals in rapid-fire succession for the rest of the night, keeping the crowd of over 26,000 on the edge of their seats.
Rapinoe evened it up in the 54th minute on a corner kick that went straight in through the legs of Lauren Sesselmann - who was parked on the near post - and past McLeod.
Sinclair's second came in the 67th minute off a header from Melissa Tancredi that she launched perfectly into the far corner.
Rapinoe replied three minutes later, firing a shot from just inside the 18-yard box.
But the ultra-confident Sinclair - playing with a steely glare all night long - collected her third on in the 73rd, a header off a corner kick from Sophie Schmidt.
Wambach's penalty shot came just a minute later, awarded when a free kick banged off the arm of Marie-Eve Nault. The free kick came after McLeod was called for delay of game, failing to release the ball within the required six seconds.
The Canadians were eliminated by the U.S. in their Olympic debut four years ago in Beijing, losing 2-1 in the quarter-finals in a game that went to extra time.
Their thrilling ride through the Summer Olympics comes just a year after the team was in total disarray, finishing 16th of 16 teams at the women's World Cup that led to the hiring of coach John Herdman.
The Americans had dominated their opponents in their run to the Olympic semis, going undefeated and allowing just two goals, while Canada went 2-1-1, defeating Great Britain 2-0 to book their spot in the semis.
The Americans held the Canadians in their own end for the frantic first 15 minutes, but they weathered the storm to finally settle down before Sinclair's goal.
Herdman, a Newcastle native who BBC announcers have been calling "Geordie John," had complained just a day earlier about the U.S. using "highly illegal tactics" with their physical play on set pieces. But on a night of two heavyweights slugging it out, the Canadians doled out as many bruising tackles as they took Monday, keeping the officials on their toes.
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