US Women's Team Embroiled in Controversy After Questionable Call Leads to Win


Controversy continues to plague the U.S. women’s soccer team at the World Cup this summer.

Whether it is players saying they will not visit the White House, protesting during the national anthem or griping about the pay gap between them and the men’s team, the team has made its share of controversial headlines.

This time, the controversy surrounds something that occurred in game action.

The women beat Spain in the Round of 16 on Monday afternoon 2-1, but questions have been raised over whether or not they should have won the game.

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That’s because Team USA’s go-ahead goal came at the 76th-minute mark from the penalty spot by midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who scored each goal in the game for the Americans, according to The Spun.

The penalty was called against Spain when Team USA’s Rose Lavelle went down.

However, whether or not she was actually knocked down by a player for Spain came into question — and under video review.

Do you think game officials made the right call?

Watch it here. The voice-over is in Spanish, but what happened on the field is clearly visible.

The officials called this a penalty even though it appears as though Lavelle lost balance and fell to the ground. She had jumped up to try to get the ball and continued running when she landed.

She appeared to be off balance to begin with. Surely, the Spain player making light contact with her did not help, but it did not look as though it would be enough to knock someone down.

As Henry Bushnell at AOL pointed out, there did not seem to be sufficient contact for the refs to call a penalty.

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However, since there was minimal contact and no “clear and obvious” error on the referee’s part, the call on the field was upheld.

The penalty was a major gift for Team USA. It’s unclear whether the Americans would have won the game without it.

If the call did not occur, the game would have been tied 1-1 with 14 minutes remaining in regulation. It is possible Team USA could have scored without it, but it is also possible that Spain could have put one into the net.

Regardless, it is probably not the best sign that the team needed a penalty to win a Round of 16 game. The further the Americans moves along in the tournament, the more difficult the competition will become.

Next time, that kind of call might end up working out against them.

The U.S. women will face France on Friday in the quarterfinals.

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Tom is a freelance writer from Massachusetts' South Shore. He covers sports, culture and politics and has written for The Washington Examiner, LifeZette and other outlets.
Tom is a freelance writer from Massachusetts' South Shore. He covers sports, culture and politics and has written for The Washington Examiner, LifeZette and other outlets.
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