Canada impresses in 0:1 loss to USA at SheBelieves Cup

Canada v USA | SheBelieves Cup

Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team opened their 2021 international season and Head Coach Bev Priestman made her debut at the SheBelieves Cup in a hard-fought 0:1 loss to host USA. Canada’s Sophie Schmidt made her milestone 200th international “A” appearance while centre back Vanessa Gilles put forth a Player of the Match performance against the reigning FIFA Women’s World Cup champions. For the Americans, Rose Lavelle scored the lone goal on a rebound in the 79th minute.

Schmidt became just the third player to make her 200th appearance after all-time leaders Christine Sinclair and Diana Matheson, both unavailable for the tournament through injury. Evelyne Viens made her international debut.

“I think they left everything out on the pitch and I am really proud of the performance, but also I think in terms of mindset and bravery, they’re really disappointed not to get the win,” said Bev Priestman, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team Head Coach. “I think some players absolutely stepped up tonight and we are really proud of the performance. It was never going to be perfect against the FIFA Women’s World Cup champions in our first match in nearly a year, but there were moments in the game when we had our chances. By the time the Olympic Games come, we will look to put those chances away.”

Canada continues with upcoming matches at the SheBelieves Cup against Argentina on Sunday 21 February (18.00 local / 18.00 ET / 15.00 PT) and Brazil on Wednesday 24 February (16.00 local / 16:00 ET / 13:00 PT). All Canada matches will be broadcast live on OneSoccer with the Canada-USA and Canada-Brazil matches also presented on CBC and Radio-Canada. Fans will find extended coverage across Canada Soccer’s digital channels on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube featuring the hashtag #CANWNT.

In the first half, USA’s first big chance was a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box, but the Megan Rapinoe shot was stopped by Janine Beckie in the Canada wall. In the 17th minute, Canada had their first chance on a Janine Beckie corner kick, but the Vanessa Gilles header was stopped by goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

In the 35th minute, Stephanie Labbé made a big save on Carli Lloyd, tipping the header over the crossbar. Labbé made another big save four minutes later on a Lynn Williams shot and then had the help of her defenders on a pair of USA chances late in the first half.

Canada’s best chance in the first half was a Nichelle Prince to Janine Beckie combination, but the Beckie left-footed shot was stopped by Naeher.

In the second half, Nichelle Prince was on top of a couple of big Canada chances inside the first 10 minutes. In the 51st minute, she weaved around a pair of American defenders, but ultimately was unable to get her shot on target. Four minutes later, Prince picked up a steal and moved in on target before playing it left to Beckie, but the Beckie shot was stopped by Naeher.

After a series of substitutions, USA created some chances with the best an Alex Morgan header from a Crystal Dunn cross in the 69th minute. Another four minutes later, Canada had another chance from an Allysha Chapman cross that hit Maggy Purce and went out, but on the ensuing corner kick the opportunity was cleared by USA.

In the 77th minute, Lindsey Horan fired a shot off the crossbar on a USA counterattack. Two minutes later, a rebound to Rose Lavelle after a free kick was fired low past Labbé for the 1-0 winner.

Canada’s final big chance came in the dying moments from a Janine Beckie corner kick, but the ball went just wide of the net.

“The SheBelieves Cup provides Canada with a platform to start our short journey towards Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” said Priestman. “Both our pre-tournament training camp and tournament matches has allowed us to introduce some new concepts and operate in a tournament setting which replicates the schedule of an Olympic tournament. This is our opportunity to assess the player pool and each player’s readiness to achieve our goals at the Olympic Games, but also for players to rise up and show that they can compete at this Olympic level.”

Canada’s starting XI featured Kailen Sheridan in goal, Jayde Riviere at right back, Vanessa Gilles and Shelina Zadorsky at centre back, Allysha Chapman at left back, and Desiree Scott, Quinn, Jessie Fleming, Deanne Rose, Nichelle Prince and Janine Beckie from the midfield up through to the attack. In the first half, injured goalkeeper Sheridan was replaced by Stephanie Labbé in the 11th minute. In the second half, coach Bev Priestman replaced Quinn for Sophie Schmidt (55’), Rose for Evelyne Viens (59’), Riviere for Gabrielle Carle (64’), and Prince for Adriana Leon (71’).

NEW 2021 NIKE HOME KIT

Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team wore their new 2021 Nike home jersey for the first time in Thursday’s match against USA. The jersey draws its inspiration from the maple leaf, an important and iconic symbol in Canadian culture. The new home jersey features a distinctive mix of red colours – Challenge Red, Sport Red and University Red – across a geometric design of maple leaves. In addition to the new kits, Canada Soccer also debuted its new custom ‘Power Lines’ font which will be used for all National Team jersey numbering and nameplates. The distinctive font typeface was also inspired by the maple leaf, built from the dynamic angles and lines of Canada’s iconic and beloved symbol.

The new Canada Soccer Women’s National Team red jersey is available now in women’s and men’s sizing at Nike.ca.

OLYMPIC MEDAL WINNERS & CONCACAF CHAMPIONS

Canada are two-time Olympic bronze medal winners (2012 and 2016) and two-time Concacaf champions (1998 and 2010). In all, Canada have participated in seven consecutive editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ (1995 to 2019) and three consecutive editions of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament (2008 to 2016). At Rio 2016, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team were the first Canadian Olympic team to win back-to-back medals at a summer Olympic Games in more than a century.

Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Youth Teams, meanwhile, have won four Concacaf youth titles: the 2004 and 2008 Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship, the 2010 Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship, and the 2014 Concacaf Girls’ Under-15 Championship. Canada have qualified for seven editions of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup (including a silver medal at Canada 2002) and all six editions of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup (including a fourth-place finish at Uruguay 2018).

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