Canada enters the game and some would say they are the underdog going up against a power-house US squad, but 12 person goes to the crowd.
Today’s match is a sell-out, which is second to the one at Commonwealth Stadium in 2003 with a record crowd of 29,953 also listed as a friendly.
That was a tune-up match before the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003.Tonight’s attendance set’s a record for CONCACAF Women’s qualifying game with an impressive crowd of 25,427.
Soccer Canada is thrilled and General Secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association Peter Montopli stated “this can only help the National program grow in all areas of the game”.
Canada advanced to the final with a 3-1 win over Mexico placing 1st in Group A, while the USA defeated Costa Rica 3 nil for a 1st place finish in Group B.
The US have an all-time WCQ record of 12 wins, 1 draw, 0 losses (71 GF, 4 GA) with Shutouts in 10 of those games.
Entering the game Sinclair is the tournament’s leading scorer with 9 goals, while her and Tancredi each have 3 assists.
Canada also managed to qualify for the Olympics in 2008 and now 2012.
The match started with Canada on the attack and US keeper Hope Solo playing a dominate role in keeping the US in the game at the start.The last time Canada beat the US was in 2001, so changes were needed to the program.
Not that the previous individuals did a bad job, it is simply an understanding for getting better in all areas of the game.
Head Coach John Herdman does not necessarily want perfection, but rather a mind-set for improving the calibre they have played with in the past.
The US scored the first goal at the four minute mark on a simple cross pass to Morgan who tapped it home.
Julian had a great chance only to be stopped by Solo who came well out of the net to challenge the shooter, straight on.
Wambach got the second goal by the US as she put a header past a falling McLeod seeing the US take charge.
This goal see’s Wambach move to second in the all-time scoring record for US Women’s soccer.
Canada had chances, but despite the pressure they never quit, they played hard, had chances, but were just outworked by a strong US team.
The consensus in the press box is “at least they qualified, now the works start”.
Following the game it was time for the presentations with several young soccer players (all girls) taking to the pitch to help in the closing ceremonies.
This tournament only helps the Female program grow for today’s young players for the betterment of the game, thereby helping put Canada on the map.
The US outscored all other opponents by a huge margin of 38-0 in all matches.
Following the match both Coaches spoke on the game in general.
The Head Coach for the US stated “We have so many options.
If I look at the bench at the 20 players, there are good players and especially when we play a tournament, our job, is to find the best starting line-up. Today we decided to go not with one of the best players, Lauren Cheney.
She hasn’t been in the starting line-up. But the combination with Abby and Alex Morgan turned out to be pretty good.
“Her findings on Alex Morgan being a starter she stated “If we play tomorrow, I would say yes. When we go to the Algarve Cup, I don’t know. That’s the beauty of the team we have right now. We will change the starting line-up quite a bit.
Regardless of who we’re picking, it will be a good team. She brought something special today with Abby. Our air presence and speed up top made us look really good today.”
Head Coach of Canada stated “As the game ran away from us, it was one of those games where we started chasing shadows for a bit.
There were some challenges there.
We’ve got to look at ourselves first; the management team and see what we could have done better, whether it was the selections, the order of substitutions, some of the tactics.”
He continued about playing the US “The first half, everything they hit, hit the back of the net. That’s the difference with the U.S.
When they’re hot, they’re hot and we’ve seen them destroy teams over the last few years.
Pia made some great decisions tonight. She put technicians in the fullback positions and all credit to the coach tonight.
She picked the right team”.
Regardless of the outcome Canada qualified and this alone made the event exceptional to cover.
Special thanks to CONCACAF for being so open toward our requests throughout the week.
All the best to the National squad in achieving the goals set prior to the outset and we’ll be following from now to the final whistle!!