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Have you seen the brutal stomp from Canada’s Melissa Tancredi on Carli Lloyd’s head?

Aug 7, 2012, 1:15 PM EDT

Carli Lloyd

Well, this changes things just a little re U.S.-Canada, flying conspiracy theories and shrill howls of “injustice” from the Canadian side.

Looks like most of us missed this one. Lost (for me, at least) in the dramatic hullabaloo of it all, and in my flying-fingers effort to explain some of soccer’s laws in context, I completely missed Melissa Tancredi’s brutal indiscretion during the second half of Monday’s U.S.-Canada match.

The hard-charging, physical Canadian midfielder stomped on Carli Lloyd’s head while the U.S. midfielder lay fallen inside the U.S. penalty area. I just watched video, and there can’t be much doubt that it was as deliberate as it was horribly dangerous to Lloyd (pictured, right).

No question this stomp, in the 55th minute Monday, should have been a straight red – and probably would have been so if spotted by any of the match officials.

If nothing else, this should quiet any of the conspiracy silliness, or the allegations of match fixing. Because if there was ever a justifiable way for a referee to reduce one side to 10 men, this would have been it.

See for yourself:


(NEW UPDATE, 5:07 p.m. ET: here’s a great look at the incident as the NBC team talks about it)


  1. sabatimus - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    The way the framerate jumps right at that time, the video is inconclusive.

  2. Steve Davis - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Possibly. The NBC team is hopefully pulling a good look at it. I just watched it on NBC Sports Network, and it looks pretty conclusive to me.

    • sabatimus - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:09 PM

      Yeah I haven’t seen it in HD or a good feed.

      • mornelithe - Aug 7, 2012 at 10:36 PM

        NBC’s Olympic section has an HD review of the play with a couple guys talking about it. It was clearly intentional, she actually reached her foot back to do it.

  3. bob3612 - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Do we know the timing on this? I want to take a look on my recording of the game. It looks pretty bad as is. Tancredi’s left foot has no reason to come down there, especially not with that kind of force. Reminiscent of Mario Balotelli’s stomp on Scott Parker’s head a few months ago.

  4. Steve Davis - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    I first thought it was later in the match. It was in the 55th minute.

    • bob3612 - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:59 PM

      I just watched this on my HD recording several times. There’s no doubt about it. That was a 100% intentional head stomp.

      I wonder whether Canada considers this “highly illegal”.

      • kaspurr - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:38 AM

        Come on everyone. I’ve played and coached at a high level for many years and it was obviously unintentional…she was looking intently at the ball and never once looked down. There’s no way she could have seen the girl on the ground. Her focus was on her position in front of the goal. The pace was frantic. She did what anyone would do, try to get into position.

  5. feumar - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    This is key: “…probably would have been so if spotted by any of the match officials…”
    Officials can’t call what they didn’t see.

    On the other hand, after Diana Matheson dribbled past a defender and was brought down by the US player just outside the box, the ref awarded a free kick but failed to issue a card. A red or yellow is usually awarded for fouling an attacker who had a direct goal-scoring opportunity.

    “A player … is sent off if … denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick …”

    • lyleoross - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      I think the reason the ref didn’t card Diana Matheson was because there was another player moving into the box that could have picked up the play. In other words she didn’t have unencumbered access to the goal (sans the goalie). From there it becomes a decision point on the part of the ref. Games like this one are hard to call. The play was hugely physical by both teams, but it felt as if the Canadians built a structure around using physical play. In other words, they planned out a game based on the use of physical play as a key dynamic or strategy. That became increasingly clear, and I suspect that somewhere in the second half the ref realized this and it impacted her calls from there out. It was a great strategy on the part of Canada, but in the end, it may have backfired.

    • term3186 - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:45 PM

      Not sure what incident you’re referring to, but Canada is lucky the red kept the cards in the pocket. Easily could’ve had several yellow/red cards. Not to mention the fouls on US players in the box that went uncalled.

    • term3186 - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:45 PM

      Not sure what incident you’re referring to, but Canada is lucky the ref kept the cards in the pocket. Easily could’ve had several yellow/red cards. Not to mention the fouls on US players in the box that went uncalled.

    • bob3612 - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:13 PM

      You’re clearly not familiar with the concept of “obvious goalscoring opportunity”. This play doesn’t come close to the usual standard.

  6. dubdiz12 - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    So does FIFA step in on this or just Olympic suspension?

    • djrrockthepitch - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:48 PM

      could be either, no? if i’m not mistaken, Lady Andrade was suspended by FIFA for her right to Wambach.

  7. drewsylvania - Aug 7, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    If I didn’t know that people have seen this on TV, I’d have believed this was a fake, since there’s a nice jump in the clip right when it happens.

  8. sspbear - Aug 7, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    The Canadians have a right to be PO’d about the goalie indirect call, but their whining should stop there. They played a brutal game, and Tancredi in particular was lucky not to have been shown the red on multiple occasions. It is always a shame when officiating becomes an issue, but FIFA should look in the mirror when assessing blame. This ref was not able to keep up with the pace of play, and was repeatedly out of position. Sure, she could make calls on set pieces, but most of the game she was at least 30-40 yards behind the play, and unable to see, up close, what was going on.

    Wrong official for a match that promised to be fast and physical by two very fit teams. Why no extra officials behind the goal to shorten the field and make the ref’s job easier?

  9. futbolhistorian - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    I hope Canada wins the bronze.

  10. Ed Farnsworth - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    A very clean view of the head stomp here:

    • Ed Farnsworth - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:16 PM

      Didn’t realize the clip would actually appear in the comment, neat!

  11. liebrich - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Only the blind don’t see how putrid an act Tancredi intentionally inflicted on a defenseless opponent. I’m not a soccer fan, just someone who sees scum for what it is.

  12. spankygreen - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    purely incidental contact. No intentions to cause injury…….

    • lunasceiling - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:47 PM

      While your at it, post a color picture of the sky on your planet. It would be cool to see something other than blue…

  13. chrishutchinson - Aug 7, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    BTW, look at the first five seconds of the game. Tancredi comes out with a needless and blatent foul right away. That was obviously their game plan. They got what they deserved and the more skillful team won, despite Sinclair’s wonderful hat trick.

  14. mornelithe - Aug 7, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    Indeed, as unfair as the goalkeeper penalty was to the Canadian’s, they should’ve been down a player for this. Absolutely cowardly move by Tancredi, and I certainly hope that FIFA looks into it and takes action. In fact, on that alone, I hope they lose the Bronze medal. Teams doing things like that don’t deserve to be rewarded in the Olympics.

    I really felt bad for Canada before seeing this though, just to make it clear. They played a great game, and I felt (before I saw the stomp) they deserved the win every bit as much as the American’s….and then I saw the clip. I can certainly understand wanting to play physical, but that was dangerous and cowardly.

  15. jamezyjamez - Aug 7, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    Is that Rafa Marquez with a wig?

  16. manspirit1 - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    Well this is the first time, I ve seen this…and as a Canadian with adequate vision…I definately concur that this was intentional and reprehensible. However, using this as an argument justifying the win from the bad call is like comparing apples and oranges. First, in any soccer match, as with any multiplayer sport, things will be missed by the referee. Sometimes those things are pretty egregious, such as the famous head butt, by the french player on the italian player in the final of the world cup a number of years ago….fortunately the ref eventually called it. In this case, the referee likely didnt see it, because it was an obvious and deliberate foul even if she was looking toward the ball when she did it. But the point is, this is a missed call, which happens all the time, and is distinct from a call that should never have been made in the first place, not to mention the ridiculous follow up call, where the Canadian players had no time whatsoever to get out of the way of the ball. So quit trying to use it as rationalizing an obviously tainted win based on a penalty kick that should never have happened. I find it unbelievable, the eyes with which some Americans seem to see with…they are by no means unbiased Just so you know were the situation reversed, I would have sided with the Americans, as would the majority of international spectators who know the game. They know right from wrong and are not corrupted in their viewpoints by greed for a gold.

  17. 504fan - Aug 8, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Why is there not more discussion of (1) Tancredi’s thuggish play during the whole match – I think she could have been carded for a couple of other incidents, regardless of the head stomp! or (2) McLeod’s multiple, prior delays of 10-14 seconds each??? After the second or third time that McLeod held the ball and looked around for her lost teammates, I said out loud, “She’s really not supposed to hold the ball that long.” The very next time she handled the ball – boom! Warning or not, she had clearly been flaunting the rules all game.

  18. manspirit1 - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Such a foul has never been called or enforced since 2002 on that level of soccer, not even by the most incompetant of refs….until now….despite the fact that virtually all teams do it in virtually all games….even by the U.S. team…Wambach took advantage of the refs inexperience at this level of play by pointing out the timecount….the ref had only refereed five games at this level three of which were from the sidelines and all of which were within the last month before the Olympics. Beyond that note the rules on handball and the interpretation that follows according to

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