September 17, the U.S. Women’s National Team tied Canada 1-1 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park for a sold-out crowd of 16,191 fans. The USA will complete the “Celebration Series” to fete the returning World Cup finalists on Thursday, September 22 at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, Oregon.
The “Celebration Series” versus Canada mark the USWNT’s first return to action since 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany where they fell to Japan in the Championship final in a penalty shootout. That result marked the first time the USA ever finished second, having won the tournament in 1991 and 1999 and placed third in 1995, 2003 and 2007. Canada was knocked out of 2011 World Cup at the group stage where they lost to all three opponents Germany, France and Nigeria.
How the game played out
Abby Wambach scored her 123rd international goal when she converted a penalty for a hand ball in the 10th minute. Melissa Tancredi equalized during the run of play just before the half. The USA dominated Canada for the greater part of the first half, playing with confidence and taking chances, but the Canadian team saw opportunities in the new system and pressed till the final minutes.
Sundhage switched goalkeeper Hope Solo for Nicole Barnhart at the half and brought in Tobin Heath for Rapinoe and Alex Morgan for Abby Wambach. Heather O’Reilly had a particularly good match and was exceptionally creative. The team’s problems with accuracy in shooting still persist, however. They took 16 shots, eight on goal, and several of those rightly belonged in the back of the net.
Building for 2012 London Olympics
Head coach Pia Sundhage employed a 4-2-3-1 formation for the first Canada match, instead of a traditional 4-4-2, to switch up the the style and spark creativity. Sundhage is scouting these two matches to select her 18-player roster for the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics in London. In November, the first training camps begin to prepare for Olympic qualifying in January.
“We’ve been playing in this system for about 48 hours so we are still getting used to it, but I love the new system,” said Megan Rapinoe. “I’m a possession-oriented player. I like to have a lot of players around me and not feel like I’m on an island.”
“[Megan Rapinoe] earned her spot in the World Cup Final,” said Sundhage. “She is a very good player, but her performance is sometimes very good and sometimes is not so good. She is playing more consistently lately and she will be one of the key players going into the Olympics.”
The U.S. and Canada will complete their two-game “Celebration Series” on Thursday, September 22 at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, Oregon. The match will kick off at 8 p.m. PT and will be shown live on ESPN2.
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– U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada
Date: Sept. 17, 2011
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: LIVESTRONG Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.
Kickoff: 6 p.m. CT
Weather: 63 degrees; Cool and hazy
USA – Abby Wambach (penalty kick) 10th minute
CAN – Melisssa Tancredi (Kelly Parker) 42
USA: 1-Hope Solo (18-Nicole Barnhart, 46); 11-Ali Krieger, 19-Rachel Buehler (4-Becky Sauerbrunn,
46), 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 6-Amy LePeilbet; 9-Heather O’Reilly, 10-Carli Lloyd, 12-Lauren Cheney, 15-Megan Rapinoe (17-Tobin Heath, 46), 8-Amy Rodriguez; 20-Abby Wambach (13-Alex Morgan, 57)
Subs not used: 2-Heather Mitts, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 14-Stephanie Cox, 16-Lori Lindsey, 21-Jill Loyden
Head coach: Pia Sundhage
CAN: 18-Erin McLeod; 7-Rhian Wilkinson (5-Robyn Gayle, 76), 2-Emily Zurrer, 4-Carmelina Moscato, 16-Lauren Sesselmann; 6-Kaylyn Kyle (11-Desiree Scott, 69), 8-Diana Matheson, 13-Sophie Schmidt; 10-Christina Julien (19-Chelsea Stewart, 68), 14-Melissa Tancredi (3-Melanie Booth, 76), 15-Kelly Parker (12-Jaclyn Sawicki, 90)
Subs not used: 9-Tina Romagnuolo, 17-Lexi Marton, 22-Justine Bernier, 21-Stephanie Labbé, 1-Karina LeBlanc, 20-Diamond Simpson,
Head coach: John Herdman
Statistical Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 16 / 10
Shots on Goal: 8 / 6
Saves: 5 / 7
Corner Kicks: 4 / 1
Fouls: 8 / 11
Offside: 0 / 4
CAN — Diana Matheson (caution) 18th minute
CAN — Kaylyn Kyle (caution) 64
Referee: Margaret Domka (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Marlene Duffy (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Melanie Johnson (USA)
Fourth Official: Jon Freemon (USA)
Bud Light Woman of the Match: Heather O’Reilly