USA-Canada: Wasted chances and sloppy play overshadow yet another U.S. win

USA-Canada is one of the great rivalries in women's soccer.

But it is also one-sided.

The USA came into the 2021 SheBelieves Cup opener in Orlando with a record of 50 wins, seven ties and just three losses in 60 games against Canada, but the series has produced some fabulous matches, including the 2012 Olympic semifinal the USA won, 4-3, in overtime, one of the greatest women's games ever played.

Thursday's game was also one-sided -- except on the scoreboard.

The USA had a 24-8 edge in shots, but it was fortunate to get out of the game with a 1-0 win against a Canadian team playing its first game under new coach Bev Priestman.

For the first time in almost a year -- the 2020 SheBelieves Cup -- the USA was actually threatened.

Coloradoan Janine Beckie had two great chances for Canada -- the second after left back Crystal Dunn slipped a back pass right to Nichelle Prince -- but shot straight at U.S. keeper Alyssa Naeher. Six minutes before the U.S. goal, the Canadians appealed unsuccessfully for a handball on Midge Purse, who started at right back in the place of injured Kelley O'Hara.

"The chances they created were after we lost the ball," said U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski. "It wasn't because they broke us down. We lost the ball in the middle, and they broke straight down towards our goal."

Canada offered a blueprint for how to stymie the U.S. attack, clogging the middle and forcing the Americans to execute on the flanks.

"We created some good opportunities after some good buildup," Andonovski said. "We were able to break them down with some creativity but we were no able to execute. I'm just glad after missing all those chances we were able to score a goal."

Rose Lavelle's goal came in the 79th minute, 15 minutes after she entered the game with Alex Morgan and Christen Press in a triple substitution. Andonovski said Lavelle's ability to find little openings in wide pockets helped break open the Canadian defense.

“When we create 10 opportunities to score and we score one, I’m disappointed" he said, "because I want us to score more goals. And on top of that, if we allow any shots on goal, I’m not going to be happy. I thought that tonight, they had couple a couple of good opportunities to score, and we’re going to look into it a little bit deeper why that happened.”

8 comments about "USA-Canada: Wasted chances and sloppy play overshadow yet another U.S. win".
  1. R2 Dad, February 19, 2021 at 11:32 a.m.

    Good thing Christine Sinclair wasn't on the pitch to finish those chances else we would have lost that one.

  2. E Velazquez replied, February 19, 2021 at 12:30 p.m.

    Coach Andonowski: we are disappointed that your players who have been training full time for months  went to play last night with no signs of will to win . One wonders  : can they improve ? .. very DOUBTFUL . May be women soccer players  are just not going to reach the  technical level that men have 

  3. Bob Ashpole, February 19, 2021 at 1:06 p.m.

    I stopped watching in the first half. I don't blame the players. I blame the coaching. I don't know what exactly the coaches are doing, but the team is playing conservative and without imagination. IMO the play is regressing instead of improving. The primary reason I say this is because these are largely the group of players that won 2 world cups, and they don't play like champions any more.

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, February 19, 2021 at 1:11 p.m.

    Please don't take this as blaming the WNT head coach. The major change since Ellis left is that previously the WNT program was run by women--Ellis and Heinrichs. That changed and now the WNT is micro managed by the same USSF managers that ran the failed MNT program--failed in the sense that the MNT failed to qualify for both the world cup and the Olympics.

  5. frank schoon replied, February 19, 2021 at 4:36 p.m.

    Bob ,I don't see the difference in how the women played pre-Andonovski and now. They still exhibit the same technical/ tactical weaknesses as before.  Whether is it run by women like Ellis and Heinrich that simply doesn't improve the player technical /tactical capability one iota. They still have the same weaknesses. It is all about their development that has been going with them for the past 15-20 years....

    At the national team level you pick the best players only regardless of their weaknesses...As far as I can see Andonovski has picked basically the best players, for they are all known in the system.
    The style has not changed it is same old way of playing as they before did with Ellis or before that.

  6. beautiful game, February 19, 2021 at 2:04 p.m.

    I'm not disappointed in the sluggish performance. Bad performances happen, and all of a sudden..."may be (sic) women soccer players  are just not going to reach the  technical level that men have." Perhaps that opinion should be re-examined with intense scrutiny.

  7. Chance Hall, February 19, 2021 at 3:27 p.m.

    While it was nice to see the women finally play someone who actually gave them some competion, I was not happy with the women's response.  World champions should respond to challenge by stepping up their game.  Show everyone why they're champions, and how to play like champions.  I've always felt that the Olympics should be for younger players.  Players trying to make their national team and perhaps play in the WWC.  It's time to inject some more new blood into the team.  Morgan will be fine when she gets back in shape, but peeno needs to go.  No speed, no creativity, and no threat on the left.  So no one needs to guard her, a defenders dream.  The coaches should be looking at new young players in this tournament and be preparing for the Olympics.    

  8. stan kull, February 19, 2021 at 7:43 p.m.

    What I have trouble understanding is that women in other sports, for example; golf, basketball, and hockey exhibit technical skills similar to the men that are in those sports.  How is it that our women are behind in their developement when it comes to soccer skills?

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