Washington Spirit midfielder Diana Matheson and defender Ali Krieger each played 90 minutes for Canada and the U.S. respectively in Sunday’s international friendly in Toronto. Spirit defender Robyn Gayle also made an appearance for Canada, entering in the 71st minute for Rhian Wilkinson.
The U.S. won the match 3-0, scoring all three goals in the final 22 minutes to blank Canada in the first match-up between the two sides since the 2012 Olympic Semifinal, a match the U.S. won 4-3 on an Alex Morgan goal in extra time. This time around, Morgan was once again the catalyst for the U.S., giving her team a 1-0 lead in the 70th minute on an assist from Abby Wambach. Just two minutes later she struck again, hitting almost the exact same spot of the lower left post, this time on a perfect feed from Tobin Heath.
Canadian-born U.S. forward Sydney Leroux capped off the scoring in the third minute of stoppage time when Wambach found her in a soft spot in the Canada defense. Leroux did the rest of the work herself, drawing Canada goalkeeper Erin McLeon out of the net and beating her to the left to score from close range. Wambach, celebrating her 33rd birthday, notched her second assist on the play. Leroux, who received an onslaught of boos from the Canadian fans when entering in the 74th minute, picked up her 17th international goal with the late strike.
Krieger played a key role for the U.S. defensively, helping anchor a stout back line that did not allow the Canadians a shot on goal. Alongside captain Christie Rampone and Woman of the Match Whitney Engen, Krieger and the U.S. defense kept goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart from having to make a save while allowing just two off-target shots. Barnhart earned the shutout in place of starting goalkeeper Hope Solo, who did not play as she continues to recover from shoulder surgery.
“I thought we defended very well today,” U.S. head coach Tom Sermanni said. “Canada is a difficult team to play against. They play quickly, they play a tempo that upsets you and at times doing very well to catch teams on the break. I thought all of our defenders did very well today and limited Canada to not that many chances.”
The match was shown on ESPNEWS, and was played in front of a sold-out crowd of 22,453 at BMO Field in Toronto. The crowd was the largest ever to watch these two teams play at the senior level in Canada.
Krieger and Spirit/U.S. goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris will continue their national team schedule on June 15 when the U.S Women host Korea Republic at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. in another international friendly. Matheson and Gayle will be back in international friendly action with the Canada Women on June 19 against Germany.
The Spirit play next in NWSL action on Saturday, June 15 at the Maryland SoccerPlex against the Western New York Flash at 7 p.m. Ticket sales have already reached the 3,000 mark. Order now at: https://tickets.washingtonspirit.com