This evening brings one of the most important games in recent memory for the Canadian women's national team, and that is saying something. Within the past few years the team has played in an Olympic medal round and hosted the World Cup on home soil. But in order to keep that momentum going a win today is mandatory.
It shouldn't be overtly difficult: 9 times out of 10 Canada will beat Costa Rica. But both teams know that, and that puts added pressure on a young Canadian team. At the same time Costa Rica is a step up from the lowly opponents that Canada has played so far in the group stage, and so they will have to be ready.
If they do win they will qualify for their third straight Olympic games, and have a chance at back to back Olympic medals. It would be a perfect way for Christine Sinclair and the golden generation of Canadian soccer to ride off into the sunset.
Should they lose, however unlikely, there will suddenly be widespread panic about the next generation of Canadian women's soccer players and whether or not the program is going for a downturn. They will likely quickly spiral out of the public's attention and all the momentum that has been built up will dissipate.
That's what is on the line for these two teams, and why this game is so incredibly important for the program and what John Herdman is trying to build.
Canada - McLeod, Chapman, Zadorsky, Buchanan, Belanger, Scott, Lawrence, Schmidt, Rose, Matheson, Sinclair (C)
Location: BBVA Field Houston, Texas United States
Kick-Off Time: 5:30 PM Eastern
Available TV: Sportsnet One
Available Streaming: CBCSports.Ca