USWNT vs. Canada: Why the Olympic soccer semifinal might be one other traditional
It’s been some time since we’ve seen a USA vs. Canada ladies’s soccer showdown in a serious worldwide competitors. After each groups survived their quarterfinals on penalty kick shootouts, the 2021 Tokyo match bracket has gifted us the primary Olympic knockout match between the 2 neighbors since 2012. This sport could have a berth to the gold medal match because the prize for the victor.
These had been the similar stakes on the London 2012 Olympics when a controversial Alex Morgan stoppage-time purpose determined a 4-3 match in favor of the USA simply moments earlier than it was to go to a penalty-kick shootout. The Canadians have vowed to get their payback for that consequence and Monday may be their greatest likelihood with the Individuals displaying they’re susceptible on this match, successful simply one among its 4 matches.
Canada’s Olympic dream is to make it to the ultimate, and alter the colour of the medal from the bronze it gained in 2012 and 2016. In the meantime, it’s not a dream, however an expectation that the No. 1-ranked U.S. ladies to make it to the gold medal match. They’ve made it to each Olympic soccer closing aside from 2016 (ousted on penalty kicks within the quarterfinals by Sweden).
MORE: Ladies’s Olympic soccer semifinal schedule
”2012 was a very long time in the past,” Morgan stated about dealing with Canada after the USA’s quarterfinal win over the Netherlands. “We’ve performed them yearly since then just about. And we all know them so properly. Clearly, numerous their gamers play within the NWSL alongside us — opponents, teammates. We’re able to play them.”
A rivalry simply ready to take off
Though the dangerous blood is actual, primarily from the Canadian facet, USA-Canada can’t blossom right into a full-fledged rivalry till the Canadian ladies win some video games. For as aggressive as Canada’s ladies’s program has been in recent times, its final win towards the USA got here approach again in March 2001 in a pleasant competitors. That’s over 20 years and 36 video games in the past. The USA’s all-time document is 51-3-7.
The 2012 Olympic semifinal was a quick style of the extent of entertaining this border rivalry may grow to be because the Canadian program retains making strides. The present U.S. Olympic crew has seven holdovers from 2012, whereas the Canadians carry over 4:
The 2 groups additionally beforehand met in a 2008 Olympic quarterfinal. The USA gained that one, too, and wanted additional time to do it, 2-1.
However within the years because the epic 2012 semifinal match, Canada hasn’t actually managed to shut the hole. In official aggressive matches between the 2 nations — regional qualifying for the Olympics and World Cup — the USA is 3-0-0 with seven targets scored and none conceded.
However Monday has the potential to be a turning level.
The 2021 Olympic semifinal matchup
The USA could have essentially the most acknowledged names on its roster from years of successful titles, however the American and Canadian squads have loads of similarities: from world class gamers at fullback (Ashley Lawrence vs. Crystal Dunn), to skilled, hard-tackling holding midfielders (Desiree Scott vs. Julie Ertz), artistic midfielders recognized for his or her unpredictability (Janine Beckie vs. Rose Lavelle), harmful wingers who can get in behind defenses (Nichelle Prince vs. Christen Press) and veteran forwards nonetheless hungry for targets (Christine Sinclair vs. Carli Lloyd).
The expertise scale clearly ideas in favor of the USA for now, however what would possibly stage the enjoying area on this match is that Canada’s principal power (crew protection) matches up properly with the USA’s sturdy go well with (assault). Canada is coming off shutting down Brazil’s assault and gained’t concede the identical areas to the Individuals that the Netherlands did within the quarterfinal stage.
DECOURCY: USA’s Alyssa Naeher wasn’t excellent till she was magnificent
Canadian middle again Vaness Gilles single handedly extinguished a number of Brazilian assaults and alongside fellow middle again Kadeisha Buchanan and the fullbacks, Lawrence and Allysha Chapman, they had been the celebrities of the quarterfinal in entrance of standout PK shot-stopping goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe, who’s on a powerful run of type on this match.
Canada’s points will clearly come within the areas of shot creation. Their seven whole photographs on purpose in 4 matches are the second fewest within the match, and their 29 whole photographs are the fewest of any of the quarterfinalists. Bev Priestman’s crew will proceed to depend on its speedy wingers, set items or moments of magic from Sinclair or Beckie to interrupt via.
So it units up for one more intense, bodily, hard-fought matchup between two groups which might be each equally hungry to make the gold medal match. Neither will probably be content material with enjoying for bronze and it ought to present on the sector.