Not many teams have given the United States women’s national team much of a fight as of late.
Until Friday night, that is, when Canada’s women’s national team gave the Americans all they could handle but in the end fell just short in a 1-0 loss at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
A 79th minute goal by Sidney Leroux proved to be the difference between the bitter rivals.
It was an encouraging performance to be sure that they could take any blow the Americans dealt them, but in a business where results are really all that matter, Canada won’t truly be satisfied until they’re standing victorious.
“We’re disappointed because we’re sick of saying ‘good try,’ ‘well done,’ and ‘we battled hard,’” said head coach John Herdman. “At some point, we’ve got to beat this team and if it’s not now, then when and hopefully it’s in 2015.”
It was truly one of those games where, had a bounce or two gone Canada’s way the outcome could have been completely different. For all their possession in the first half, the Americans couldn’t find a goal and it was Diana Matheson who had the best chance of all late in the first half but she couldn’t find the target.
The miss proved costly, as Leroux put the Americans ahead in the 79th minute. After a scramble on the right side, a cross came in from the right that Canada was unable to clear. Leroux was in the right place to tap it in from close range near the post to the right of Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod.
After going down a goal, Canada pressed for the equalizer and nearly had it with just a handful of minutes left on the clock. Substitute Sura Yekka passed the ball into the middle to Sophie Schmidt, who played it into Christine Sinclair. Sinclair flicked onto Jonelle Filigno but a diving Hope Solo stopped her left-footed curling shot.
Despite the loss, Herdman said it was an encouraging match with the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup inching closer.
“We’ve got a bright future now that we’re aligning the system so 2015, I think if you look at that as a year out from a World Cup, there’s not much in it between those two teams,” said Herdman. “And when you think Melissa Tancredi and Kara Lang are to come back, that squad is strengthened.”