EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The United States has made it through to the quarterfinals at the Women’s World Cup but not unscathed.
The Americans will have to face China without two key contributors.
Midfielders Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe won’t be able to play because of accumulated yellow cards. Both received their second yellows in Monday night’s 2-0 victory over upstart Colombia in the round of 16.
It’s a blow to the United States, which has struggled to find its offense during the tournament. Rapinoe has been one of the most creative and dangerous players for the Americans, while Holiday has been steady and dependable.
“Obviously we’ve got some decisions to make but I think we’ve invested in players significantly over the past six months and we’ve dealt with injuries,” coach Jill Ellis said. “So I feel very confident in the players we have to be able to come in and contribute. And I know they’re going to be confident to be able to step up and help us advance.”
Rapinoe said she felt her caution in the 41st came as the result of a series of calls. Holiday was carded in the 17th minute.
“I guess you could say I accumulated all those fouls so that’s worth the yellow card. But (Holiday) got the yellow card on her very first foul of the game so I didn’t think that was that fair,” Rapinoe said.
Ellis said after the game that Morgan Brian is likely to take Holiday’s spot at center with Carli Lloyd. At 22, Brian is the youngest player on the team. Rapinoe suggested that Christen Press would likely step into her spot.
The United States has won the World Cup twice, but the team’s last title came in 1999. The second-ranked Americans are among the favorites in Canada, along with top-ranked Germany and third-ranked France.
The U.S. will play No. 16 China on Friday night in Ottawa. The winner of that game will go on to face the winner of the Friday quarterfinal between Germany and France in Montreal.
Abby Wambach, who missed a penalty kick in the match against Colombia, was asked after the match whether the yellow cards for Rapinoe and Holiday were deserved.
“I don’t know,” Wambach said. “That’s definitely a great question. I don’t know if they were yellows. It seemed like she (the referee) was purposefully giving those yellows to maybe players that she knew were sitting on yellows. I don’t know if that was just a psychological thing, who knows. Who knows,” Wambach said.