Canada earn late draw with Finland


CSA

Canada needed a stoppage-time goal from Jodi-Ann Robinson to earn a 1-1 draw with Finland in their final game at the 2008 Four Nations Tournament in Guangzhou, China.

Even Pellerud’s side left it until the 93rd minute to claim their equalizer, with two Vancouver Whitecaps players creating Canada’s tying goal. Midfielder Kaylyn Kyle set up Robinson to strike in the dying stages of Sunday’s contest.

As a result, Canada finished the tournament in third place after posting two draws and a defeat in their three games at the Guangdong Olympic Sports Center. The Canadians started the tournament with a 4-0 defeat to the USA last Wednesday before claiming a goalless draw with hosts China on Friday.

Pellerud again turned to his young players for the game against the Finns, with teenagers Julie Armstrong and Jonelle Filigno named in Canada’s starting XI for the second straight time. Also earning a second straight start was veteran goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc of Maple Ridge, BC. “The Finland match marked one of those days when total domination could not secure a win, neither did an extremely high number of goalscoring chances and penalty box penetrations,” Pellerud told CanadaSoccer.com. “It took us 93 minutes to score, but Robinson’s goal was ‘almost’ worth the wait.”

The Norwegian tactician was pleased with how his young squad handled the three-game tournament in the Far East. “In terms of consistency and playing performance, I am overall pleased with how this team has responded to three big games this early in the season,” Pellerud said. “Playing without a number of players - Kara Lang, Robyn Gayle, Tanya Dennis, Kristina Kiss, Amy Walsh, Diana Matheson, Katie Thorlakson and then (through tournament injuries) to Melissa Tancredi and Lexi Marton - has forced this team to rely on team unity and tactical discipline. This whole event was very good. The experience will definitely help us to be match fit moving forward to the next competition.”

Pellerud’s squad will now return to its residency base in Vancouver and continue with their preparations towards next April’s CONCACAF Olympic qualification tournament in Mexico.

In Sunday’s other game, a 77th-minute header from Shannon Boxx helped the United States defeat China 1-0, as the Americans went on to claim their third straight Four Nations Tournament title.