The US women’s national team will have to rely on depth in its Women’s World Cup quarterfinal match against China on Friday.
The US won their first knockout game against Colombia 2-0, but they suffered two key losses in the process. Starting midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday both received their second yellow cards of their tournament. Under FIFA rules, players that accumulate two yellow cards before the semifinals are suspended for a game.
Before 2010, yellow cards were wiped clean at the end of the group stage, and a player could only get suspended if they got two yellows in the knockout rounds. For the 2010 World Cup, FIFA changed the rule in order to keep players from missing a World Cup Final due to yellow card accumulation. Now at the 2015 Women’s World Cup yellow cards from the group stage carry over to the knockout stage, and getting two yellow cards over the first five games of the tournament leads to an automatic one game suspension.
The same rule was in place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and a lot of people hate it.
Losing Rapinoe and Holiday will hurt. They’re first and second on the team in chances created, according to ESPN. Rapinoe has two goals and one assist, while Holiday has played every minute of the tournament so far.
After the game, both Rapinoe and Holiday told the media they didn’t think their fouls were worthy of a yellow card.
“I felt [the yellow card] was a little undeserving, I think [Holiday] would feel the same way — hers even more than mine — but that’s the way it is,” Rapinoe told FOX Sports.
“It was unfortunate that it happened, and I think it was a weak yellow card, in my opinion. But I think we have a great team, [and] we have a lot of people that can step up.”
The player who was most critical of French referee Stephanie Frappart’s officiating was Abby Wambach. She questioned whether the fact both Rapinoe and Holiday entered the match with a yellow card could have influenced Frappart’s decision to give them each a second.
“I don’t know,” Wambach told Hays. “That’s definitely a great question. I don’t know if [the fouls] were yellows. It seemed like she 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.”
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