The last time these two teams played, it was all about the past. Billed as the re-match, it was sold as the chance for revenge, for Canada to claim the victory that was rightfully theirs from the Olympics the previous summer. That result was always unlikely, more than anything really it was the chance to thank and acknowledge the team that had captured the imagination and won a bronze, to the extent that Melissa Tancredi, a huge part of that team, was brought out for the first half despite not playing all year to focus on her education.
Thankfully enough, and despite Grant Wahl's very ambiguously written efforts to look back to that game through the hit baiting Sydney Leroux vs the racists angle, this game's more about the future, and mainly preparation for the 2015 World Cup. As was generally the case last year, the squad is a mix of the established players, Mcleod, Sesselman, Scott, Matheson, Sinclair etc and those youngsters or fringe players that John Herdman hopes can bring something different, force their way into first team concentration and improve the team as a whole. Kadeisha Buchanan, so impressive as one of the few newcomers to play in that game against the States last year, and Sura Yekka were the main success stories and both are in this squad.
That those 2 are both defenders is quite telling as the main area Canada struggled in last year was up front, trying to find someone to be an effective partner for Christine Sinclair who had one of her most ineffective years in a long time throughout that process. That may be the most intriguing thing to come from this game as there are two new/old names in the squad who could be playing at forward; Josee Belanger and Jonelle Filigno, Belanger returning after almost 3 years out of the squad.
Though looking to the future, tweaking and experimenting and trying to find the right pieces remain the main theme of all Canada's games for the foreseeable future, there's a bit more on the line here. As the cliche goes, there's no such thing as a friendly game when Canada plays the US. It's been 13 years since Canada came out on the right side of these games, which is a stat I'm sure they'd all love to be able to start again at 0. The US (an absolute machine in the words of Herdman) will have a strong side out, (though no Alex Morgan which will probably just mean a lot more of Leroux, fun.) so it will be very difficult to get a result from this one.
The game's live on Sportsnet World. If you're in Toronto and fancy a viewing party, the Voyageurs are getting together at the Duke of Gloucester. If you can't make that, well we'll be working off our own pre season rust, doing the usual game thread commentary thing in the comments section. Join us there.