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United States deny Canada’s redemption, win 3-0 in Toronto

Jun 2, 2013, 6:50 PM EDT

Canada's Rhian Wilkinson battles for the ball with Carli Lloyd of the U.S. during the first half of their friendly women's soccer match in Toronto Reuters

The much-hyped rematch of last summer’s Olympic semifinal played out with few of Manchester’s fireworks, with a late brace from Alex Morgan lifting the United States to a 3-0 victory over Canada in Toronto.

Played in front of a near-sell out crowd at BMO Field, the match was the second of a men’s-women’s set celebrating the 100th anniversary of U.S. Soccer. After the U.S. men defeating Germany earlier in Washington, D.C., the States’ women’s team completed the program’s centennial sweep, downing a rival that hasn’t beaten the U.S. since 2001.

It was a match that’d been widely been billed as a chance for Canadian revenge – a rematch of last summer’s meeting in Manchester, England, where the U.S. controversially defeated Canada in the Olympics’ semifinal. Various officiating issues before a 123rd minute winner from Morgan created a sense of anticipation ahead of Sunday’s match in Toronto, the nations’ first game since their classic at Old Trafford.

Sunday’s start failed to match the hype, but when the U.S. finally broke through in the 70th minute, the onslaught started. Morgan started the scoring by finishing from left of goal from 12 yards out. Two minutes later, Morgan doubled the U.S.’s lead, with Sydney Leroux closing the U.S.’s account in the 93rd minute.

The first half was defined by the teams’ combative play through midfield, conflict resulting in a lack of scoring chances for each side. Speculative forays toward opposing penalty areas were cut out before becoming chances, with Canada’s midfield able to strangle the U.S.’s talented attack.

Despite that slight advantage, the hosts finished the half without a shot, let alone a chance that tested Nicole Barnhart. The U.S.’s numbers looked better – three shots, two of which tested Erin McLeod – but without creating a clear chance on goal, the visitors were rightly taken into halftime scoreless. They didn’t register their first shot until minute 28.

If anything, it was Canada that came closer to the first goal, with Christine Sinclair blowing past left back Crystal Dunn  in the 42nd minute to get onto a ball through the right channel. Sinclair was momentarily alone approaching the byline before Barnhart charged out, smothered any chance Sinclair had to play back across goal, leaving the Canadians with what became an ineffectual corner.

The second half saw the U.S.’s chances improve. In the 53rd minute, a defense-splitting pass from Tobin Heath nearly put Morgan in on goal, with a lunging tackle from 17-year-old Kadeisha Buchanan all that prevented the U.S. forward from getting a shot off on McLeod. Two minutes later, Abby Wambach redirected a corner kick toward goal, but a block from Buchanan again prevented the U.S. from opening the scoring.

In the 70th minute, the U.S. finally broke through. A quick transition out of midfield saw Wambach play a ball from the left to Morgan, approaching the left side of the Canadian area. After dribbling around a twisted Emily Zurrer, Morgan slid a left-footed finish inside the far post, giving the U.S. 1-0 lead.

Two minutes later, a nearly identical finish doubled the States’ lead. After Heath forced a turnover, the U.S. midfielder quickly found Morgan behind the defense on the left. Another left-footed finish into the far side netting gave the U.S. a 2-0 lead before Canada had even registered a shot.

In stoppage time, former Canadian youth star Leroux completed the scoring, slotting home the States’ third goal. The Boston Breakers’ attacker celebrated amid booing fans, raising the U.S.’s centennial crest before holding a finger to her lips, shushing the derisive crowd.

The celebration was a point of controversy post-match, eliciting a label of “classless” from the commentating team on Canadian broadcaster Sportsnet. Leroux, a target of derision from Canadian fans since declaring for the U.S. in 2011, was booed after being brought on in the 74th minute. Scattered boos also accompanied her subsequent touches, with the relationship between Leroux and her country of birth becoming even more complicated after a controversial 20 minutes.

  1. boscoesworld - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    Well now we know the quality of education in Canada. 10,000 people can count to 8 at the same time!!

  2. boscoesworld - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    “Classless”? She was booed the whole time and when she scored she celebrated. I guess I take my previous comment back. They don’t teach good word use in Canada eh!

    • jason9696 - Jun 2, 2013 at 8:22 PM

      She was born in Canada and now plays for the (hated around the world) Americans. I don’t blame the 20,000+ fans for booing her traitor ass.

      • bustication - Jun 2, 2013 at 9:08 PM

        Let me finish that for you. She was born in Canada to American and Canadian parents. That’s why she can play for the USWNT. Where you were born is only part of the equation of who you are. If you think for a moment that where you were born defines you, why don’t you look up the name Ted Cruz and then tell me why Canadians are a bunch of right wing nutjobs. After all, that tea party darling was born in Calgary. Or on the flip side of that coin, why doesn’t Jerome Iginla get booed in the US? After all, his American mother raised him after his Canadian father abandoned them, yet he plays for the Canadian national team. People are people and their lives are influenced by many things. Very VERY far down most people’s list of influential factors are their government, which a) is what many people in the world don’t like about the US and b) a great many of the 300,000,000+ Americans don’t always agree with (note the 9% approval rating of US Congress). Maybe one day you’ll understand that you can’t pigeonhole people into ideologies. Probably not, but we can hope.

      • jimeejohnson - Jun 2, 2013 at 9:19 PM

        bustication: you nailed it.

      • abjr - Jun 3, 2013 at 1:44 AM

        Do Canadians accept Sesselman? Do Canadians accept Quon? And if not, why not? And if so, why not accept that Leroux made a different choice?

        Traitor? really??

    • bradygazelle - Jun 2, 2013 at 9:02 PM

      The Leroux celebration was just ridiculous and totally unnecessary. Of course she was booed since she played U17 for Canada and then switched to the US(legally under US Soccer and FIFA rules of course).

      Leroux has a world of talent but she really needs to get a hold of her life. It’s not a coincidence her club team has benched her in their previous two games. With the wealth of talent up front for the US I wouldn’t be surprised if Sermanni cycles her out of the US rotation. If she keeps acting like this it won’t bother me one bit either.

      • randomhookup - Jun 2, 2013 at 9:20 PM

        Leroux only missed one recent game with the Breakers. Other than that, she has started all the matches.

        “Of course” she was booed… and of course she responded when she scored.

  3. kernelthai - Jun 3, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    Despite the negative talking points I found a few positives. The Canadian defense played very well until fatigue set in. Sermanni has seemingly addressed a major concern with the US back line. Engen played very well and Dunn did as well on the left as she does on the right, making her twice as valuable on the bench. Heath also played well. She seems more interested in moving the ball into space than dribbling the ball into the defense. Hopefully there r more positives in the South Korea games.

  4. mnhockeydad - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    I think this was a well written article. Thanks for the detail, not just on the goals, but also some of the potential scores as well. So very rare to get real journalism these days.

  5. jody46 - Jun 5, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    DId they red card the canada fans for booing when she can pick whatever team she wants to play on, she has one american parent one canadian parent. She has always been booed which I think is unsportsmanship with the fans, which the announcers don’t think so and if you see when she scores and she shows her shirt that she is usa and put her finger to shush them because she is good and she scored you can she the fan giving her the finger! Look at the pictures. did she do it back? no. That is digusting, the fans are more at fault not her, she got a penalty for the celebration they said but did the fans? I don’t know if you know but not all america is hated whomever said that. If they are in womens soccer its because they are very good and the celebrate but the other teams do to. they didn’t even take the columbian player out that hit wambach in the head in the olympics. Don’t talk about united states sportsmanship talk about the other countries letting people stay doing things like that.

  6. njsurfchick - Jun 5, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Well done, Syd. See you soon in NJ at Red Bull Arena…Bring that passion!!!

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