The United States Women’s National Team renewed their rivalry with Canada tonight in Frisco, Texas. The field was a menagerie of various sod chunks that went well with the clunky nature of the match. It was a very physical match up that saw Canada earn three yellow cards before halftime. The largest crowd to watch the USWNT in over 10 years witnessed a very disjointed game in which Canada proved very hard to crack and potentially dangerous on the counter attack.
Canada has been training for two months ahead of this match while the U.S. team just came together with some new players in the mix under Tom Sermanni. The Canadian team’s strategy was to play defense and look to counter. It took until the 60th minute for them to send more than five players forward. Despite this strategy they had the best chance in the first half as Diana Matheson beat a charging Hope Solo only to watch the ball roll just wide of the far post.
It took almost 80 minutes for the USWNT to score and it came off a great run by Becky Sauerbrunn. After a give and go with Christen Press, she found Sydney Leroux all alone on the far post. Leroux has become public enemy No. 1 for Canada after choosing to play for the U.S. over Canada. She also proudly emphasized the crest on her shirt when she scored against Canada last year. This celebration was a bit more muted, but still exuberant in true Leroux fashion.
In the end, the Canadian team had very little chances despite all the training and bonding time. They had very little possession and Hope Solo was pretty bored. There was one point that she took the ball about 30 yards from her goal with no white jersey in the frame.
Still, the USWNT was rusty. Their passing was not crisp and done blindly at times. They had trouble hooking up in the box. Crosses were off by just a hair or sent to close to the keeper. Still, they dominated possession and overcame a very physical approach from their northern rival. It was not pretty by any means, but it was another showing that this is a very, very good team. Maybe they were just toying with Canada.