Women’s National Team place second in Cyprus Cup
These past two weeks, the Canadian Women’s National Team has been preparing for the World Cup starting on June 16th in Edmonton, and continuing up to the July 5th final in BC Place. In the annual women’s tournament, the Cyprus Cup, the Canadian ladies finished with three wins and one loss en route to their second place finish.
The women started strong in their first game against Scotland in a 2-0 win, with then sixteen-year-old Jessie Fleming scoring her first goal for the senior team early in the game, with Canadian captain Christine Sinclair scoring an insurance goal in the fifty-fifth minute to put the game away. Since scoring her first national team goal on March 4th, Fleming has turned seventeen.
The second match of the Cyprus Cup as the team took on Korea Republic was another new experience for Fleming due to being shown her first red card after a pair of yellows in a chaotic game. Fortunately, Canada did enough to get by the difficult Korean side, as Sinclair’s second goal of the tournament in the fifty-seventh minute led the women to a 1-0 win and first in Group A, leading Italy on goal differential heading into the final game.
After another difficult match for the Canadian women, they managed to defeat the tricky Italians 1-0 solidifying their spot against England in the final. After some halftime changes by coach John Herdman, Allysha Chapman slotted the ball behind the Italian goalkeeper to score Canada’s only goal of the game. Through the entire group stage, the Canadian goalkeepers kept a clean sheet.
However, the Cyprus Cup final against England was not a happy seventeenth birthday for substitute Jessie Fleming. Despite a hard fought effort by the girls, English striker Lianne Sanderson, of the Arsenal Ladies, scored in the sixty-seventh minute to give England the goal that led to victory and first place in the tournament. Although the Canadians came up just short, the tournament was a good preparation for the World Cup on home soil, as they ready themselves for their first game against China in Commonwealth Stadium on the 16th of June.
Men’s National Team prepare for Gold Cup
Yesterday, the draw for the 2015 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup occurred as the Canadian Men’s National Team was placed into Group B alongside world number thirteen Costa Rica. Joining Canada and Costa Rica in Group B are Central American nation El Salvador and 2014 Caribbean Cup champions Jamaica.
The Gold Cup will be another challenge for the men’s team that is ranked 116th in the world, the lowest FIFA member in the competition. Despite the challenges, coach Benito Floro will be hoping to guide Canada to their first Gold Cup championship since 2000. On the road to the Gold Cup, the Men’s National Team has four games left to play, two friendlies against Guatemala and Puerto Rico on March 27th and 30th respectively, before starting on their way to Russia 2018 with a double-legged tie against the victors of the British Virgin Islands and Dominica.
Canadian fans will be pleased that the team will be finishing off the Group Stage of the Gold Cup in Toronto against Costa Rica on July 14th, with Group B being the only group to play a match day outside of the United States. However, to get there, the men will need to first play El Salvador in the Galaxy’s Stubhub Center on the 8th, and match-up with Jamaica on the 11th in the Dynamo’s BBVA Compass Stadium.
Men’s U-17s aim for World Cup qualification
The Men’s Under-17 side, stocked full of players from the TFC Academy and Whitecaps Residency teams, came incredibly close to World Cup qualification on Thursday night, needing only a win against Panama to qualify for the prestigious Under-17 World Cup as well as the CONCACAF Championship final against Honduras. Despite coming so close, the Canadians dropped the match 1-0 to the Panamanian side as they finished second in Group B behind Mexico.
Fortunately, despite the loss, not all is lost for the Canadian boys, as they still have one more chance to qualify. On Sunday, March 15th the team will match-up again against the Costa Rican team they already defeated 3-2 during group play. However, it is far from a sure win for the Canadians, only winning by one goal against Costa Rica on March 3rd, with one goal for each side coming from a penalty. The Costa Ricans are also coming off a 1-1 draw against the difficult Mexican team, setting up what should be an exciting match.