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U.S. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher Won't Play In Women's Olympic Bronze Medal Match

TOKYO — U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher will not play in Thursday's Olympic bronze medal women's soccer match. Naeher exited Monday's semifinal game against Canada with an injury.

In the 22nd minute, Naeher leaped for a ball, bumped into U.S. defender Julie Ertz and landed awkwardly. U.S. Soccer says Naeher "suffered a hyperextension of her right knee and a bone contusion."

She remained on the ground while the team's medical staff attended to her. Naeher played a few more minutes but visibly winced and raised her hand to be substituted out when she next kicked the ball. U.S. goalkeeper Adrianna Franch replaced her for the rest of the game. Canada defeated the U.S. 1-0 to advance to Friday's gold medal match against Sweden.

U.S. Soccer said in a news release that Naeher had an MRI after the game that showed no ligament damage. "I'm disappointed I won't be able to be on the field Thursday with my teammates competing for a medal, but I know this group will bounce back from a tough loss," Naeher said. She's expected to be out for several weeks.

The U.S. team, which is top ranked and is the reigning Women's World Cup champion, will take on Australia for the bronze medal on Thursday at 4 a.m. ET. The teams played to a scoreless draw when they met earlier in the tournament.

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Alyssa Naeher stands with crutches following her injury after Canada defeated the U.S.
Francois Nel / Getty Images
Getty Images
Alyssa Naeher stands with crutches following her injury after Canada defeated the U.S.

As NPR's Southern Bureau chief, Russell Lewis covers issues and people of the Southeast for NPR — from Florida to Virginia to Texas, including West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. His work brings context and dimension to issues ranging from immigration, transportation, and oil and gas drilling for NPR listeners across the nation and around the world.