Disallowed goals mar extra time of U.S. women's soccer loss

The United States and Sweden had consecutive goals ruled out due to offside calls late in extra time of their Olympic quarterfinal women’s soccer game Friday. Both, replays showed, were incorrect calls. The game ended up going to penalties, and the U.S. lost.

First, a Crystal Dunn cross found Carli Lloyd at the back post. Lloyd, with a defender stumbling right in front of her, headed the ball past the Swedish goalkeeper, but the referee’s whistle blew to disallow the goal. Her signals, and the pointing of Sweden’s defenders, indicated that the call was offsides.

It should not have been offsides:

Lloyd looked like she might have fouled the defender, but that wasn’t the call on the field.

Then, minutes later, Sweden had the ball in the back of the net. A low cross from the right side was directed towards United States winger-turned-defender Tobin Heath. Heath miscued the clearance, and the ball caromed back towards the U.S. goal, where Swedish striker Lotta Schelin was waiting in an offside position.

However, the offsides rule states that a player must be in an onside position when the ball is played by a teammate. Deflections or miscued passes by an opponent don’t matter. Replays showed that when the cross came in, the Sweden player was well onside:

Perhaps it was a makeup call. Perhaps both were just errors. Either way, the game went to penalties, where the U.S. lost 4-3.