Canada claims silver at CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying
After securing qualification for London 2012 on Friday, Canada fell short of its final goal at the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament: a victory against arch-rival USA. On the final day of the competition, Canada could not rouse itself enough to defeat the favoured Americans, thus claiming a silver medal in the eight-team confederation championship.
USA prevailed 4:0 on the day in front of a sell-out crowd of 25,427 fans at BC Place in Vancouver to close-out a widely successfully Canada 2012 for both the home team and the overall competition. Over 15 matches, the tournament featured a combined attendance of 162,223 fans from 19-29 January.
Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan both provided a pair of goals for the Americans as they reinforced their case as the number-one side in the world of women’s football.
Canada got off to the worst of starts when Alex Morgan burst through the Canadian back-line a dispatched a classy finish past stranded goalkeeper Erin McLeod in the fourth minute. A long ball pass up the middle was headed forward by Wambach to the streaking Morgan.
Wambach was next to score for the Americans as Morgan turned provider and whipped a ball to the near-post. Morgan did well to buy some space from her defender and thrash home the header in the 24th minute.
Wambach struck again only four minutes later as she collected a loose ball in box and knocked the finish past McLeod to the bottom corner. It was the 131st goal of Wambach’s career, moving her into second place past Kristine Lilly (130).
Canada’s best opportunity of the first half came when Christina Julien latched onto a through ball and ran clear onto USA goalkeeper Hope Solo, but Julien could not managed to dink the ball over the oncoming Solo. The USA goalkeeper Solo established a new tournament record with 450 minutes of shutout play.
Unfortunately for Canada, the Americans maintained the vast majority of pressure in the second period as well and ultimately offered the Canadians little chance to get back in the game.
Morgan used her pace again on the fourth goal as she blew by the Canadian defenders and carved enough space on the second phase of play to finish past a scrambling McLeod in the 56th minute.
Canada was able to lock down the defence from that point forward, but could do little to create much of their own in the second half.
Sophie Schmidt went closest when she linked with Melissa Tancredi to send a cross into the box, but the ball drifted narrowly wide of the far post on the play.
Canada will be disappointed not to have closed out the tournament in style, but after qualifying for the Olympics in front of a number of record crowds – the team will still leave the competition with its heads held high.
Canada started the match with Erin McLeod in goal, and Robyn Gayle, Candance Chapman, Shannon Woeller and Lauren Sesselmann across the back-line. Desiree Scott, Sophie Schmidt, Kelly Parker, Kaylyn Kyle, Christine Sinclair and Christina Julien rounded out the team from the midfield through to the attacking line.
In the second half, Herdman replaced Kyle with Melissa Tancredi (46th minute), Gayle with Rhian Wilkinson (54′) and Schmidt with Carmelina Moscato (61′).
USA’s starting XI featured Hope Solo (goal), Heather Mitts, Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara, Amy Rodriguez, Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Lori Lindsey and Abby Wambach.
In the second half, coach Pia Sundhage replaced Wambach with Lauren Cheney (46′), Rodriguez with Sydney Leroux (63′) and Mitts with Rachel Buehler (69′).
The crowd of 25,427 for the final is a new record for CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament.