The U.S. women’s national soccer team trekked to a sold-out BMO Field in Toronto over the weekend for a contest with the Canadian national team. Each squad was headlined by members of the Portland Thorns, with Alex Morgan suiting up for the U.S. and Christine Sinclair answering the call for Canada.
The U.S. women’s national soccer team trekked to a sold-out BMO Field in Toronto over the weekend for a contest with the Canadian national team. Each squad was headlined by members of the Portland Thorns, with Alex Morgan suiting up for the U.S. and Christine Sinclair answering the call for Canada. The meeting was a rematch of the Olympic semifinal last summer, a fierce encounter that the U.S. won 4-3 on a header by Morgan with just a few seconds left in
The U.S. was playing without goalkeeper Hope Solo, who is recovering from shoulder surgery. But it didn’t affect the outcome as Morgan delivered again on Sunday, getting two goals late in the second half to lead the team to a 3-0 victory. The American squad improved their unbeaten streak to 32 games.
The friendly international game was a defensive battle in the first half. Each side came out focused and intense, with neither team willing to give up any significant ground. Unsurprisingly, the Canadian team concentrated much of its effort on containing the speedy Morgan, and accomplished their task admirably to maintain a scoreless tie going into the locker room.
The second half was a different story, however. The U.S. was relentless against the Canadian defense, working to create an opening for its dynamic scorers to break through. Their persistence was finally rewarded in the 70th minute when Abby Wambach, the 2012 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, booted a perfect pass to a streaking Morgan in the left side of the Canadian box. The Thorns forward slipped her defender and sent a low shot into the goal to put her team up 1-0.
Morgan didn’t even give the Canadian team a chance to catch their breath after the score, striking again in the 72nd minute on a counterattack. With four defenders in tow, she caught a pass from teammate Tobin Heath. Morgan’s first touch put the ball at the edge of the Canadian penalty box, and the second launched another low screamer past goalkeeper Erin McLeod.
The goal that put the Canadian team away came from a fitting source. Forward Sydney Leroux, a Canadian-born American, has been the subject of much animosity in her native country for moving to the U.S. midway through high school after a promising youth career in Canada. The crowd was vocal as usual toward Leroux, but it didn’t seem to bother the forward, who put the finishing touches on the Americans’ win in the 93rd minute when she blew past the tired Canadian defense, side-stepped the advancing McLeod and placed the ball in the net to a roar of disapproval from the stands. Leroux replied with a flash of the American crest on her jersey and put a finger to her lips as her teammates cheered from the sidelines.
The U.S. squad will now begin prepping for two matches on home soil against Korea this month: June 15 in Foxborough, Mass., and June 20 in Harrison, N.J.