[USA-CANADA: Reaction]Friday's USA-Canada game marked the debut of the University of Virginia's Morgan Brian in the U.S. starting lineup. The 2013 Soccer America Women's College Player of the Year was outstanding in the 1-0 win, starting after Coach Tom Sermanni said he was only initially thinking of using her for 10-15 minutes at game's end.
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“We were toying with the idea of bringing her off with 10 or 15 [minutes] to go," said Sermanni, "but we were a bit concerned about bringing someone in [who was] not in the rhythm of the game and that being disruptive for us. She did extremely well. I didn’t think she would go 90 [minutes], but she did extremely well to go 90, and I think she showed unbelievable class and quality throughout the game tonight.”
Brian said playing alongside Lauren Holiday, the 2013 NWSL MVP, helped her a lot.
"I think everyone’s first career start with the national team is a really good experience," she said. "[Holiday] helped me a lot tonight, the whole team did. Playing with the youth national teams is always a great experience, but pulling on your jersey for the first time and getting your first start for the full national team is just awesome.”
She said there were pros and cons to coming off the bench and starting.
"Coming off the bench is nice to pick up your team and get some excitement into the game," he said, "but starting the game, you get the feel for it and you’re already with the team, building rhythm, so that’s a plus for that.”
The USA finished a 15-7 edge in shots, but the game's big numbers were the fouls: Canada 16-3.
“You saw it in the game," Brian said of Canada's physical play. "They were coming in hard, so you just have to move the ball with one-and two-touch. Just move the ball, keep it and spread it. That’s all you can really do.”