It seemed a curious place to hold a press conference announcing an international soccer match, but the fact that it was in Fort York gave a pretty big hint as to who Canada's opponents would be in their first game game since the successful run at the Olympics. An important landmark in the war of 1812, it was no surprise when it was made official that the game would be against the US team that beat them in that epic semi final at Old Trafford last year.
The location of the game also wasn't really a surprise, why hold the press conference in Toronto for a game being held elsewhere, though in a way it's a curious choice. Why here, given how Toronto won't be hosting any Women's World Cup games in 2015, which is of the course the event this matchup is kicking off the countdown towards? For answers to that question and more, check out this article by Squizz over at CSN as he actually got to pose the question to CSA General Secretary Peter Montopoli.
The only real question was when, and that turns out to be June 2nd, a Sunday afternoon that sets up a lovely doubleheader, following as it does TFC's home game against Philadelphia Union the day before. Hopefully that might entice a few extra fans from Philadelphia to make the trip for the weekend, as away fans are always good, and let's face it, the decision to play in Toronto will mean that the attendance figure will be harshly judged elsewhere in the country if it fails to live up to expectations.
Exactly what those expectations might be is anyone's guess really. The most vocal critics will as always be in Vancouver and they'll no doubt be holding up the 20,000 plus crowds they got at BC Place for Olympic qualifying games as a standard (which is fair, but hopefully they won't ignore the much smaller crowds that were at the group stage games before the momentum of a lot of games in a short time, well publicised by Sportsnet, brought the big crowds to the knockout games). A very reasonable target to be setting is the 15,000 that was reached almost a year ago to the day when the men's team played a friendly against the US as part of their centennial celebrations. That should be very do-able given the post bronze glow that is still attached to the women's side of things. Tickets go on sale March 22nd through ticketmaster, and once again the CSA will be working with Umbro to get tickets out to soccer clubs in the area and letting the Voyageurs take the lead in selling the south end tickets. Details on all that are still understandably scarce, but the V's have already set up a facebook page for the event, which you can check out here, there will be another pre game event and this will mark the official launch of 'Mission 2015'.
As for the game itself, well, it's being marketed as 'the re-match' and the revenge factor was certainly being played up at the conference. John Herdman confirmed that this isn't going to be a chance to blood the youngsters and look to 2015, but that he will instead be looking to put out a full strength team. This CP article is full of fighting talk from Herdman, unfinished business, and wanting to use those players who developed a Canada can mentality during the Olympics.
One of those players is of course Diana Matheson, who was also in a feisty mood, playing up the rivalry, as well as talking bullishly of a sellout, and asking Canadians to leave their politeness at home. That shouldn't be a problem at all, as well as the usual Canadian desire to put one over the States, there's a lot of bitterness to be worked out from that Olympic semi final, expect loud counting to 6 whenever Hope Solo gets the ball, references to Norwegian refs and all that sort of thing.
Montopoli talked about looking to have games in all the World Cup hosting cities between now and 2015 so it's unlikely there'll be too many friendlies played at BMO Field during that time, this could be a last chance to see many of the players from this era playing together in Toronto. I'd encourage you all to come out for this one, even if, or especially if, like me you've never been able to attend a CanWNT game before. We'll try our best to keep you up to date in the months ahead when details come out about ticket sales and other events. Hopefully Matheson, and others can finally get their first win against the US team and get Mission 2015 kicked off in style.