VANCOUVER, B.C – Canada hosted the United States national team in what was billed as a rematch from their competitive, and controversial London, Olympic semifinal match in Manchester, England on August 6 last summer.
On this particular Sunday afternoon the United States prevailed with a 3-0 win at BMO Field in Toronto thanks to three 2nd half goals. Canada was locked in, and played a great defensive game with a 3-5-2 formation for 70 minutes until Alex Morgan stole the show, and Sydney Leroux added an extra time goal.
Morgan scored in the 70′, and 72′ to send Canadian fans home frustrated. Her first goal came after she got a great ball in from Abby Wambach, and broke down the left flank. Morgan absolutely schooled, and turned Canadian defender Emily Zurrer inside out before blasting the ball past Erin McLeod. Canada’s poor coverage showed its face moments later as Morgan got behind the home side, and scored what looked to be a carbon copy of her first goal. The Diamond Bar, California native, was untouched, and she rifled the ball past McLeod to give her side a 2-0 lead.
Surrey, B.C. native, Sydney Leroux came on as a substitute in the 2nd half, and heard quite the jeers, and boos from the 22,453 fans in attendance.
Leroux, who was born in Canada to a Canadian Mother, and an American Father decided at a young age to play soccer for the United States. Not being the most welcomed player on the pitch didn’t seem to bother her as the Boston Breaker striker got behind the Canadian defense, and rounded Erin McLeod to score into an open net in the 93′. Leroux proudly pointed to the USA crest on her kit, and put her finger to her lips motioning silence to the critics at BMO Field. For her celebration Mexican referee Quetzalli Alvarado issued Leroux the only yellow card of the game.
Canada’s most prolific strikers, Christine Sinclair, and Melissa Tancredi were left on an island thanks to terrific coverage from the United States defenders in particular captain Christie Rampone, and Whitney Engen. The Canadian duo were unable to receive any concrete service from the midfield, and subsequently they were often up the pitch, and left out of play.
The biggest bright spot for Canada came from 17 year-old Kadeisha Buchanan. The Mississauga, Ontario defender made a tremendous divining tackle early in the 2nd half to deny Alex Morgan’s shot on attempt, as the Portland Thorns striker was sent in on goal, and looked to have a glorious opportunity to score. Moments later Buchanan made another fantastic defensive play when she denied Abby Wambach’s header on goal with a brilliant goal line clearance in the 53′. Buchanan has a promising future with the Canadian national team, and she did more than hold her own against some of the best players in the game.
Overall both teams looked like they hadn’t played together with their nationals teams in quite sometime. The United States were able to make some adjustments at half-time, and Alex Morgan’s move to the wing proved to pay off. Canada couldn’t adjust, and their mistakes at the back-end proved costly. Canada did little at the opposite end of the pitch, and Nicole Barnhart wasn’t tested enough. The American back line did a tremendous job of shadowing, and keeping Christine Sinclair in check.
The United States showed why they are the no.1 ranked team in Women’s football, and Canada showed that they have a lot of work to do before hosting the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Notes: Canada’s next match will be away to Germany on June 19. The United States next match will be on June 15 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts vs South Korea. Abby Wambach celebrated her 32nd birthday.