They are the big brother that Canada has never been able to beat, or so CBC commentator Karina Leblanc has labeled the US national team. It's a fitting title, and one that Leblanc would know better than most having played over 100 games in net for Canada.
During that time Leblanc and Canada would lose to the United States in the semi-final and quarterfinals respectively of the last two Olympic games, and in the third place game at the 2003 Women's World Cup. They have lost many other times to the States in friendlies and other tournaments.
She also had a clean sheet the last time Canada beat the United States, 3-0 in a 2001 match at the Algarve Women's Cup. The only player on that team who still plays for Canada today in Christine Sinclair, who scored a goal that day. 15 years later she had a pair of goals for Canada against Costa Rica on Friday to secure them a berth at Rio 2016.
There is also an American player who may remember that day, as Hope Solo was in net for the United States during that match. 15 years later she has continued to stir up controversy ahead of today's CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament final.
She called games between two teams "bloodbaths" that favoured physicality over technical skill. She said this leads to the games never being very pretty, something she blames mostly on the Canadian team.
"Hopefully with this new group of players, we'll find a way around that, we'll find a way around their American football-style of play," Solo told media on Friday. "We'll try to move the ball more around them and not get into that blood match that we tend to do against Canada."
That's why these games matter, even if there is nothing tangible on the line between the two teams. There never needs to be that extra motivation when they play each other: these teams are genuine rivals.
Because there is nothing on the line today it will not be as memorable as some of the other "bloodbaths" that Canada and the US have played. But a result for Canada would still be huge for a number of reasons.
For one, it would be proof in an Olympic year that they can beat the best in the World, something they will evidently have to do if they want to medal again in Rio. But it would also mean that the Canadian program has grown enough to finally beat big brother.
Canada- Labbe, Chapman, Zadorsky, Buchanan, Wilkinson, Lawrence, Scott, Quinn, Belanger, Prince, Tancredi
A bit of an odd lineup for the Canadian team, but with an eye towards the future. Stephanie Labbe has been tabbed as the goalkeeper of the future once Erin McLeod is gone, so she will get some big game experience. The backline is mostly unchanged, with the exception of Josee Belanger moving forward into the midfield.
The biggest surprise, perhaps, is in the midfield and attack where Christine Sinclair, Sophie Schmidt and Diana Matheson are all not starting. Instead the midfield four will be Belanger, Desiree Scott, Rebecca Quinn and Ashley Lawrence. Up front Canada will play Melissa Tancredi alongside youngster Nichelle Prince. Tancredi will serve as Captain.
Location: BBVA Stadium Houston, Texas
Kick-off time: 5:00 PM Eastern
SB Nation OPPOSITION Blog: http://www.starsandstripesfc.com/
Available TV: Sportsnet One (CAN), NBC Sports (US)
Available streaming: http://stream.nbcsports.com/nbc/?pid=20813&cid=sbnation
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.