Portland home to memorable Canadian win

Nearly eight years have passed since the last time Canada’s women’s national team played in Portland, yet the Pacific Northwest city will always be home to one of Canada’s most memorable wins in international competition. The Canucks are returning this Thursday 22 September 2011 for a Women’s International Friendly match against USA at JELD-WEN Field (formerly PGE Park).

Nearly eight years have passed since the last time Canada’s women’s national team played in Portland, yet the Pacific Northwest city will always be home to one of Canada’s most memorable wins in international competition. The Canucks are returning this Thursday 22 September 2011 for a Women’s International Friendly match against USA at JELD-WEN Field (formerly PGE Park).



The famous Portland victory took place on 2 October 2003 in the quarter-final stage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003. Canada knocked off China PR with a 1:0 victory that sent Canada to the semi-final stage for the first time.



Canadian captain Charmaine Hooper scored the lone goal of the match, with an assist from then-rookie Diana Matheson. Goalkeeper Taryn Swiatek was “phenomenal” in delivering the clean sheet.



“I remember a very good crowd for that match, it was a very pro-Chinese crowd,” remembered Matheson. “Taryn Swiatek had a phenomenal game in goal and Charmaine scored the goal off a counter.”



At the time, Canada had never beaten China PR in a women’s football match. The most recent result had been a 1:5 defeat at the 2001 Algarve Women’s Cup. China PR was also the silver medal winners from four years early at the previous FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 1999. The team had reached the championship final before losing to host USA on kicks from the penalty mark. There were 90,185 fans in attendance at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles for the USA 1999 final.



Expectations for the Chinese team at USA 2003 were equally as intense. They saw themselves clearly as one of the medal favourites.



“Our defence was amazing,” said Matheson. “I remember seeing the clock at 70 minutes in and just knowing that they weren’t going to score for the rest of the game. It was just one of those games where we were just not going to let them score.”



Eight years on, Matheson is now one of the veterans of a Canadian squad that has just begun preparations for next year’s Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in London. She will serve as captain in the Thursday match in Portland.



Canadian fans who are traveling to Portland are purchasing their tickets via ussoccer.com. Fans will also be able to watch the match via the American broadcast on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com. A live in-match twitter feed will be provided by Canada Soccer at twitter.com/CanadaSoccerEN.



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