EDMONTON, Alberta -- The U.S. women's team knows it will be without midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday in Friday's Women's World Cup quarterfinal against China because of yellow cards they received during Monday's 2-0 win against Colombia.
The Americans will also hope another player didn't land herself in hot water with comments about those yellow cards.
Holiday and Rapinoe received yellow cards as a result of fouls committed in the first half against Colombia.
Since both players had already received yellow cards earlier in the tournament, they are automatically suspended from the team's next game.
Asked whether the cards were deserved, captain Abby Wambach questioned whether each player's history influenced French referee Stephanie Frappart.
"I don't know," Wambach said. "That's definitely a great question. I don't know if they 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."
On Tuesday, Wambach issued an apology in an interview with Fox Sports 1, saying "that is something I take ownership of and apologize for because I don't know what the referee is thinking."
Wambach said Frappart "is doing the very best job she can, so are the players, we're all trying to do our very best. And that's what I feel bad about."
Wambach added she doesn't "know what [Frappart] was thinking and nobody can. She is doing the best she can, and for me, I have the utmost respect for all the referees and all the players. No way did I mean to offend her."
Holiday and Rapinoe, as well as other American players, said after the game that they felt the yellow cards were, as Holiday said of her infraction, "soft."
According to a Reuters report, Wambach could face additional punishment from FIFA.
Although Canada's Christine Sinclair received a four-match ban from FIFA following an Olympic semifinal after which she was publicly critical of the referee's motivations, her suspension was the result of actions on the field, not her comments to the media.
The leading goal scorer in soccer history, Wambach is known for an extemporaneous speaking style that sometimes invites headlines. Earlier in the World Cup, she said the artificial turf in use for the tournament had a negative effect on scoring, and specifically cited her own reticence to commit fully to diving on the surface.