Canada earned a notable 2-1 win over Brazil in a women's international friendly courtesy of a pair of goals by Vancouver Whitecaps FC alum Christine Sinclair at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts on Saturday.
Six former 'Caps started for Canada, including defenders Emily Zurrer and Candace Chapman; midfielders Desiree Scott and Sophie Schmidt; and strikers Christine Sinclair and Melissa Tancredi.
Veteran goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc captained the side on her 100th appearance for Canada and made a crucial second half save to preserve a 1-0 lead for her team. In the process, LeBlanc became the first Canadian goalkeeper and only the seventh player in the country’s history to reach 100 caps.
Sinclair’s goals came in the 12th and 78th minutes respectively to give Canada a 2-0 lead before Brazil pulled one back from the penalty spot when Gabriella Demoiser converted in the 87th minute.
Canada got off on the front foot to open the match when Sinclair raced clear through on goal and appeared to have beaten the Brazilian goalkeeper until Andreia pulled off a splendid save by reaching back and denying the Canadian striker a clear shot on the empty goal.
After Sinclair was denied on her first attempt, she made no mistake with the second.
Candace Chapman sent an angled ball over the top of the Brazilian back-line and Sinclair beat the offside trap, latched onto it and dispatched a cool finish to make it one-nil Canada in the 12th minute.
The rest of the first half unfolded largely without event with both teams trading half-chances in open play.
The game was marked by a concerning moment when Andreia collided with Emily Zurrer in an aerial clash leaving the Brazilian 'keeper motionless on the pitch. Andreia was tended to by medical staff before being stretchered off just ahead of halftime with back-up goalkeeper Barbara coming on in added time.
The second half was largely influenced by Brazil’s decision to bring on Marta, who did not start the march due to her later arrival into camp in advance of the match.
Marta had the first real chance of the second period when she rang a firm header off of the crossbar from close range in the 66th minute.
The Brazilian star went close again only minutes later when LeBlanc made a superb save to deny Marta’s half-volley from eight yards out. The Brazilian striker powered a left-footed attempt but LeBlanc dove acrobatically and deflected the effort wide of the post with her left hand.
After being on the back foot for large parts of the second half it was Canada who found the next breakthrough.
Sophie Schmidt provided a delicate layoff to Sinclair at the edge of the area after a direct ball from Marie Eve-Nault. Sinclair turned and fired a left-footed effort perfectly into the bottom right corner to give Canada the 2-0 lead in the 78th minute.
Just when Canada looked to be cruising to a comfortable victory Brazil were offered a route back into the game when defender Carmelina Moscato brought down Erika Santos in the box and the referee pointed to the spot.
Substitute Gabriella Demoiser stepped up and converted the opportunity, placing the ball to the bottom left corner – just beyond the reach of LeBlanc who had guessed correctedly and was mere inches away from making the save. The goal was scored in the 87th minute.
Brazil continued to press after halving the deficit but Canada defended resolutely and did enough to hang on for the 2-1 win.
Also of note in the match, Sophie Schmidt made her 34th consecutive appearance for Canada, tied for sixth-longest in team history.
Christine Sinclair’s two goals on the afternoon brought her season total to 13 and her career tally to 133.
Canada will depart for Malmö, Sweden, on March 25 ahead of the team’s next women’s international friendly match against the Swedes on March 31.