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Controversial VAR decision robs USWNT of equalizer in 2-1 defeat to England

76,893 fans packed into Wembley Stadium on Friday to watch England defeat the United States women’s national team 2-1 in a wildly entertaining friendly. The game had a bit of everything including two controversial VAR decisions that went against the U.S.

The game got off to a brutal start for the USWNT when Alana Cook had a nightmare at the back. In the ninth minute a dangerous but clearable cross from Beth Mead came into the box and Cook failed to get it clear. Lauren Hemp jumped on the failed clearance and tucked in the game’s opener

It was England who would make a mistake 18 minutes later when Lindsey Horan picked the pocket of Georgia Stanway to set up Sophia Smith for the equalizer.

England’s next goal came with controversy as a VAR review gave England a penalty kick for Hailie Mace’s high boot on Lucy Bronze. Mace was an early first half substitute after Emily Fox picked up an injury.

This call left a sour taste in the mouth of USWNT fans. A player putting their head that low for a 50/50 ball is asking for trouble. It’s worth noting that the USWNT players had little protest to the VAR decision.

Stanway would step up and bury the penalty in the 33rd minute.

Trinity Rodman thought she had equalized in the 36th minute after a beautifully worked goal that include a cross from Smith, a Megan Rapinoe dummy and a confident finish. VAR would step in again to hurt the USWNT by saying Smith was offside in the build-up.

This writer is going to break character for a moment. That offside call was atrocious. 

I wasn’t buying this offside even if it was buy one get three free. The referee didn’t even bother to go to the VAR screen to look at this insanely tight call. On top of that there wasn’t an angle down the line to provide clear and obvious evidence that Smith was offside. Rodman and the USWNT got robbed.

The second half saw the introduction of Crystal Dunn who hadn’t played with the USWNT in over a year.

There were several half chances for the USWNT and England throughout the final 45 minutes but no clear-cut goal scoring opportunities. 

England deserves plenty of credit. The Lionesses played with confidence and looked the better side for large portions of the game. If these two teams meet in Australia at the 2023 World Cup it will be a must-watch affair.

Friday’s victory sees England extend its unbeaten streak to 23 games including winning 15 straight. This is the first loss the USWNT has suffered since that heartbreaking 1-0 defeat to Canada in the Tokyo Olympics semifinal.

The USWNT isn’t done with its Euro tour yet as it will play Spain on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

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