U.S. women's soccer coach Pia Sundhage agrees with the referee's decision that led to a controversial free kick, and eventually, a game-tying goal late in the Americans' semifinal victory against Canada.
Canadian players said immediately after Monday's 4-3 loss that they felt robbed and cheated by the call. But the Associated Press reported that soccer governing body FIFA is considering disciplinary action over the players' and coach's comments.
On Tuesday, Sundhage said it was Canadian goaltender Erin McLeod who "broke the rule."
Sundhage says coach John Herdman's strategy was to hold onto Canada's 3-2 lead late in the second half, and that meant delaying the game.
"Their plan was to slow down the game," Sundhage said Tuesday at the team's hotel, minutes before departing for London for the Olympic gold-medal game against Japan. "If I put myself in (Herdman's) shoes it's about game management. You slow down the game and you feel like you have a chance against the States. That was not the first time. From what I heard, she got a warning.
"She broke the rule."
U.S. striker Alex Morgan, who scored the game-winner, felt some sympathy for the Canadians, but said McLeod had been warned against delaying the game.
"You don't see that call very often, obviously," she says. "The keeper had a warning and then she got called on it the second time. I think that it was the right decision. Canadians are going to be frustrated and at that point, if I was in their position, I would be frustrated as well and not really want to sugarcoat my interviews.
"But it was blatant. It was obvious. It was at least 10 times that she was over six seconds and we're not talking about seven seconds or eight. It was 10 seconds, 15 seconds, and we were calling it out loud. The referee was aware of all that so it wasn't something that she decided to call randomly."