The United States National Women's Soccer team will face off with Canada today at Manchester United's Old Trafford in the semifinals of the 2012 London Olympics. The US women are so far unbeaten in the tournament and considered the favorites for gold. You can see the game at 2:45pm eastern time on NBC Sports Network.
They'll be taking on a Canadian team who lost their opener against Japan, but have since been unbeaten, including a win over the hosts Great Britain in the quarterfinals. Canadian manager John Herdman has injected some juice into this rivalry claiming that the United States ladies use "illegal" tactics on free kicks.
"One of the big threats we've got to take care of, and what we've paid attention to, is the illegal marking in the box on their corners and free kicks," Herdman said. "Some of the blocking tactics, which are highly illegal, we'll keep an eye on them in the game. We've starting working on that in training without trying to injure our players."
Whether or not the US actually uses "illegal" tactics or not, you can bet that the underdogs Canadians are at least trying to plant the seed in the minds of the refs here in an attempt to secure any advantage they can.
While Team USA has not addressed the accusations, forward Abby Wambach says she always expects a tough fight from our neighbors to the north.
"Canada has always been a dogfight for some reason," the country's second-leading all-time scorer said. "We've had historically close matches and because of the physical nature of the play, the result has often been a lot closer than we would have liked."
The US has dominated the historical matchup between the two countries with a record of 43-3-5. They least defeated the Canadians 2-1 in a friendly on June 30th and last met them in Olympic play in Beijing where they scored a 2-1 win in extra time. That game eliminated Canada from the tournament.