The Canadian women’s national team proved they could go toe-to-toe with the world’s best team tonight during a 1-1 draw with the United States.
A young Canadian squad caused the number one team in the FIFA rankings all sorts of problems, but came just short of their first win against America in 16 years. Nonetheless, it was a promising performance in front of a packed BC Place in Vancouver.
Alex Morgan, often the hero against Canada in the past, scored the opener for the United States. However, a dominant second half from the Canadians resulted in an equalizer from Adriana Leon.
The United States were the better side in a first half neither team will be overtly happy with, making several dangerous forays into the Canadian half. Megan Rapinoe came close to grabbing the opener midway through the half, but her shot struck the post.
In the 30th minute the States finally found the opener after a poor clearance from the Canadian backline. Morgan was first to pounce on the ball and moved past Shelina Zadorsky before burying the ball into the back of the net to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead.
They came close to adding another in the 38th minute from a direct free kick in a dangerous position. However, Lindsey Horan’s dipping strike was saved well by Stephanie Labbé in the Canadian goal.
Canada, much to the delight on the boisterous BC Place crowd, did give the United States some problems towards the end of the half. Ashley Lawrence in particular put the United States in some uncomfortable positions down the right flank. The hosts, however, went into the half down a goal.
Les Rouges carried that momentum into the start of the second half, where they put the Americans under pressure early and often.
Janine Beckie came close on a pair of occasions. First, she failed to make clean contact a cross field ball which skidded over the crossbar. Moments later, her well-struck long distance shot forced a save from US keeper Alyssa Naeher.
From the resulting corner, Canada found their equalizer. After a shot from Rebecca Quinn hit the crossbar, a clever overhead flick from Christine Sinclair was tapped in by Leon to tie the score 1-1 in the 57th minute.
Morgan came very close to adding her second goal on the match in the 76th minute when the ball fell to her inside the Canadian box. But Canadian striker Janine Beckie turned defender, blocking a pair of point blank shots.
Canada also had a near miss in the 85th minute when debutant Meaghan Kelly hit the post. Kelly had been played through by a probing long ball from Desiree Scott but could not make a strong enough connection to put the ball past Naeher.
Neither team was able to solve the other again before the final whistle, and the match ended in a 1-1 draw. The Canadian side looked a little frustrated at the full-time whistle, knowing how close they had come to an important victory. The two sides will meet again on Sunday in San Jose.