UPDATED: I wrote a column-length version of the argument for the Ottawa Citizen.
For many -- indeed, for almost all -- athletes, chance is a security blanket. It is what provides the excuses for when things don't go the way the athlete hoped. The track was wet. I drew an outside lane. The referee jobbed us. Almost every athlete reaches for the excuses at one time or another, and for good reason: it deflects criticism away from poor execution, or from questions of whether the athlete trained properly, or if the coach chose the proper strategy.
This is not to take anything away from the Canadians. They played a magnificent game -- it was one of the greatest moments of this Olympics, and one of the greatest nights for Christine Sinclair. The refereeing was bad, but the Canadians didn't play perfectly either.(The first American goal in particular was brutal -- a short-side defensive breakdown that let Rapinoe score directly off a corner kick.)
If they are going to have a hope of winning the bronze medal on Thursday against France, they need to stop blaming the ref for their loss against the USA, and think about adjusting their strategy on defense.