Moments of triumph like this rarely happen for Canadian soccer, at any level. So when they do they absolutely deserve to be both enjoyed and celebrated. With their backs against the wall, both in the game and the tournament, down 2-0 with a loss already to their name, Canada came out and had a statement half. The 3-2 comeback win showed 45 minutes of why Canada just might have a fighting chance in this tournament after all, or at least enough to get out of the group.
Nichelle Prince played the role of hero, rewarded for her brilliant play throughout the match by a fortuitous bounce from which she made no mistake. Lucky bounces, although entirely deserved, were a theme for Canada. Valerie Sanderson's equalizer also took a favourable deflection off the Finnish goalkeeper; Janine Beckie had the other goal for Canada. Juliette Kemppi scored both goals for Finland within the first 21 minutes of the first half.
On top of her goal, Prince was also the best player in attack for Canada on the night. Her pace and skill going forward were both on full display as she caused a ton of problems for the Finnish backline. She is clearly not on the level of Christine Sinclair, but the idea that Canada has no attacking options in their future is exaggerated as long as Prince remains in this form. The fact that she did not play for most of the opening match seems even more surprising now.
Overall, the first ten minutes of the second half, which saw Canada come back and tie the game after being down two at halftime, showed the full extent of the team's offensive capabilities. Whatever Andrew Olivieri said during the break clearly had some sort of postive impact as his team came out with the type of inspiration that hadn't been seen the rest of the tournament. If that sort of play is any indication, this Canadian team is significantly more dangerous than they exhibited in the opening match.
At the back, Kadeisha Buchanen is clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the field. Her class at the national team level has already been displayed, and against players her age her skill is ever more evident. Her tackles and tracking are brilliant and are a huge asset for Canada's backline. Rebecca Quinn also had a great game, especially in the second half.
While there were only a couple thousand more in the stands on this occasion, the energy was significantly better, although admittedly there was a lot more to cheer about in this one. The midgame wave didn't help much, but its evil had to grace BMO Field at some point, it was inevitable. Toronto has now passed the torch to Montreal, who are tasked with once again providing the team with twelfth man to help turn this victory into something substantial: a birth in the knockout stages.
In order to do that, Canada still likely need to get a result in the final game against North Korea. A win would guarantee them a place in the second round, while a draw would require a win from Finland in order for Canada to advance. This situation is significantly better that which Canada found itself in after the first match.
It may have only been one half, but Canada have proven they will not leave this tournament without a fight. If that half is any indication, that fight could take this team a lot further than most initially thought.