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It led to an indirect kick in the box for Rapinoe, who sent it into a wall of defenders. Two Canadians hit the ball with their hands. A foul was called, which set up a penalty kick for Wambach, who converted.
The Canadians fumed over the call an hour after the game had ended.
Storylines U.S. 4, Canada 3The U.S. advances to the gold-medal match to play Japan on Thursday at Wembley Stadium.
» Alex Morgan’s game-winning goal is her third of the Olympics, but first since the U.S.’s opening win against France.
» Japan advances to the title game by virtue of a 2-1 win over France.
"We feel like we didn’t lose," Sinclair said, "we feel like it was taken from us. It’s a shame in a game like that, which is so important that the ref decided the result before the game started."
McLeod was even less diplomatic.
"We feel like we got robbed in this game," she said. "The referee was very one-sided."
When the game truly was decided, however, the referee was nowhere to be seen. It was just a long pass from Heather O’Reilly to Morgan.
Then it was a pile of sweat and tears and the belief in a third-straight gold as one American after another stacked herself on top of the last to create a victory pile.
Somewhere under there, in the happy darkness, Wambach found Morgan.
"I love you," she later recalled saying. "I think I am in love with you in this moment."
Of course it would end this way.
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