Commentary

USA vs. Canada: A revenge match? Not exactly

Time flies in international soccer.

Almost a year ago, Canada ended the USA's bid for an Olympic gold-medal, winning, 1-0, in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics.

On Monday, the USA and Canada meet again, this time with berth in the next Olympics on the line.

The winner of the Concacaf W Championship final will be headed to Paris in 2024 while the loser will move into a playoff against the winner of Monday's third-place game between Costa Rica and Jamaica to determine Concacaf's second representative in Olympic women's soccer.

Canada's victory over the USA in Kashima was followed by a shootout win over Sweden in the gold-medal game. The semifinal win was just Canada's fifth over the USA in a 63-game series and first win since 2001, a span of 37 games.

That included a 4-3 overtime victory by the USA over Canada in the semifinals of the 2012 Olympics, one of the greatest games in the history of women's soccer. The Canadians took the loss hard — star Christine Sinclair was handed a four-game suspension by FIFA for remarks directed at the match officials after the loss — so last year's victory over the USA was extra sweet.



Desiree Scott, one of six Canadians at the Concacaf W Championship with more than 100 caps, says her team's confidence is at an all-time high.

"Obviously, after Tokyo," she said on Sunday, "there's going to be a little bit [more] of fire and fight there."

Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe, the star of Canada's shootout wins over Brazil and Sweden in the knockout stage at last summer's Olympics, is the only one of the 16 Canadians who played in the semifinal against the USA and is not in Monterrey. (She retired earlier this year.)

USA's loss to Canada followed a 3-0 defeat to Sweden in Japan. The two losses matched the total number of losses the USA had suffered in the six previous Olympic competitions.

The setbacks signaled it was time for a change within the U.S. national team  -- more than half the core players were 30 years old or older -- and Vlatko Andonovski's youth movement was accelerated by a wave of injuries and other absences. Of the 16 players who played in the 3-0 semifinal win over Costa Rica, just five played against Canada a year ago. Becky Sauerbrunn, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle and Alex Morgan started while Megan Rapinoe came off the bench against Las Ticas. Alyssa Naeher and Kelley O’Hara were unused subs on Thursday night.



There has little talk on the U.S. side about making Monday's game a revenge match, though.

"We haven't really talked about it a lot," said Andonovski, "and probably one of the reasons why is because if you look at the group of players that is here there's no more than four or five players that were on the field in the [Olympic semifinal] game."

It's rare that the USA loses — the two Olympic defeats are the only losses in 46 games since Andonovski took over as head coach at the end of 2019 — so each loss takes on added focus.

"I look at every loss or every failure a little bit deeper," added Andonovski, "and I will use that as a learning opportunity going forward, whether it's against Canada or any other national team that we're facing."

Morgan, who scored a hat trick in the 2012 semifinal and started in Kashima, agreed the USA-Canada rivalry has heated up but it hasn't changed the USA's focus.

"It will be a great game," she said following Thursday's win over Costa Rica. "But it’s really not about looking back, it’s about looking forward."

Lavelle photo: Concacaf.com

14 comments about "USA vs. Canada: A revenge match? Not exactly".
  1. Bob Ashpole, July 18, 2022 at 9:05 a.m.

    More than ever, we need to look forward not backward. Like England's FA in 1950, USSF lives in the past.

    If you aren't moving forward, you're moving backward.

  2. Bob Ashpole, July 18, 2022 at 9:08 a.m.

    Before someone comments on the state of player development, I will point out that we are developing future players to play the turbo style of soccer we have always used in the past. We are not developing smart technically skilled players.

  3. Matt Cardillo replied, July 18, 2022 at 10:14 a.m.

    Yup. 
    Watch the Euros.
    I can see the European countries not just fast-approaching in the rearview mirror. 
    They are also right beside us.
    Hopefully not in our blind spot.

  4. Santiago 1314 replied, July 18, 2022 at 3:58 p.m.

    Don't Really care what it Looks like Tonight....
    JUST WIN BABY, WIN.!!!

  5. Ross Stewart, July 18, 2022 at 11:26 a.m.

    Vlatko needs this. if he turns up and eliminates the center of midfield yet again and has them playing along the front line with the defenders just lumping in crosses again, he's clueless and lost here. sometimes terriffic club managers are not cut out to have ALL of the talent on their roster. Recently, he's calling for all of the chance creation to come solely from balls out wide expect for when the midfield can turn balls over and transition. he has no clue what to do against a good low-block. the set up in the first half against Costa Rica was absolutely shocking. depending on emily sonnett to set your progressions from across the backline through the midfield as the tactic is just a waste of everyones time. Hopefully he has a good night because tactically it's been shocking from him. 

  6. R2 Dad replied, July 18, 2022 at 12:59 p.m.

    With Macario out, the creativity has to come from the wingers. It's worked so far, but we haven't really been tested. I don't understand how our rival, that beat us at the last Olympics, isn't now an urgent priority. Our players turned over, their players have turned over--we still should want to thump them. Vlatko makes this sound like a friendly. Where is the committment to impose our will? Would this be the same response if it were Mexico? I don't think so. 

  7. Santiago 1314 replied, July 18, 2022 at 3:58 p.m.

    Ross .. Sounds like our Men's Team.!!!

  8. Bob Ashpole, July 18, 2022 at 11:37 a.m.

    What he does is dictated to him by USSF managers. He agreed to it when he took the job. So he is still to blame. I only mention it because simply changing the coach without fixing USSF will do nothing to remedy the situation.

  9. R2 Dad replied, July 18, 2022 at 1:04 p.m.

    Bob, we were beaten twice in the last tournament. Unlikely we will not get out of the group stage at the next WC, but England, Germany, France, NL, Spain all await. I'd like to hear Vlatko tell us what success at the next world cup looks like. Qualify for the semis? the Final? Winning the tournament? He should lay it on the line at some point. You are also correct that changing out Vlatko for some other coach committed to turbo will just perpetuate the status quo. It will take a lot more losing for USSF to change that aspect of play.

  10. Ben Myers, July 18, 2022 at 1:24 p.m.

    Not about Vlatko and the USWNT, but about broadcasting the match.  Does the USSF have any influence with major TV networks, even cable TV, to have this match televised, not streamed on Paramount+.  Streaming the USWNT matches relegates them to obscurity in the eye of the public.  Cindy, are you listening?

  11. Bob Ashpole replied, July 18, 2022 at 1:33 p.m.

    It is a CONCACAF event. They are in control. CONCACAF has a history of graft and corruption.

    VIX is streaming in Spanish, and VIX accounts are free to open. 

  12. Santiago 1314 replied, July 18, 2022 at 4:15 p.m.

    Paramount+ is CBSSN (Sports Net)
    At 10eastern... They are showing someone Named Michael Breed.??? ... Some Sort of Golf Handicapping Show.!?!?!?
    I imagine the Local CBS, have Local News; and we all know; "IF IT BLEEDS, IT LEADS".!!!.
    Tells you what CBS thinks of Women's soccer Ratings.!?!?!?
    I wonder how the TV Money Breaks Down in the New CBA.???

    Butts in the Seats and Eyes on the "Tube" ; that is how they should get Paid.!!!... Not some  Money Splitting, Woke, "Feely Goodie,  Money Sharing, Socialist agreement.!!!

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, July 18, 2022 at 6:33 p.m.

    Figures. ESPN carters to sports gamblers too.

  14. Bob Ashpole replied, July 18, 2022 at 6:54 p.m.

    TUDN (used to be call Univision Desportes) is broadcasting the match on cable in addition to streaming it on VIX.

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