CONCACAF Olympic qualifying: Canada v Cuba

As promised, Canadian national team coach John Herdman has made sure every player gets to play in front of a home crowd at this tournament. Lots of new faces in the starting eleven but Christine Sinclair still gets the start. Canada look like this:

  • G: McLeod
  • D: Woeller, Booth, Gayle, Moscato
  • M: Mottershead, Kyle, Timko, Sinclair
  • F:, Tancredi, Buckland

Much bigger crowd tonight. Probably closing in on 10 000.

First half

  • This will be a good test of Canada’s depth.
  • Herdman obviously watched Cuba play and saw that Cuba’s Martinez (8) and Ellis (11) are the ones to worry about. Despite the ball being in Cuba’s end almost continuously from the start, he’s still on his centre backs to sit in positions that will deny Martinez the ability to get a ball to her feet and turn.
  • Interesting seeing Sinclair play as an attacking centre mid. Emphasis on attacking. It almost looks like a 4-3-3- at times.
  • 15 minutes in and aside from a Sinclair header off a corner Canada really haven’t done much.
  • After a very quiet start, marked by some poor decisions on the ball, Kyle drives smartly into the box and draws a legit penalty which Sinclair slots confidently. 1-0 Canada in the 17th minute
  • Gayle at right back is struggling to get involved and she’s playing against a suspect Cuban defender if she could get forward and get the ball.
  • Tancredi very quiet as well.
  • Gayle finally gets forward, megs her mark and puts the best cross of the game so far into the box. No one on the other end though.
  • Lovely second goal. Quick, incisive pass from Mottershead, angled perfectly for a streaking Sinclair to get beyond her mark and cross first time to Tancredi at the far post who just had to keep it on target. Two great balls and a confident header from Tancredi.
  • The ball is rarely out of Cuba’s half and Canada have found their stride.
  • Cuba’s back line is just too ragged. They don’t push as a unit and against good strikers who can make a yard of space look like a km…it will cost them.
  • This is turning into 8v9 in the Cuban defensive third. They leave one up, Martinez, and Canada leave two centre backs behind to cover the threat. Mottershead doing a good job quarterbacking. Spraying balls wide and slicing balls into strikers feet very well
  • Herdman is the most vocal person in BC Place.
  • Chelsea Buckland’s missed two sitters now. Now that I’ve posted that she’ll no doubt score a cracker
  • Half time and the Cubans seem more content with the result than Canada

Second half

  • Sinclair wisely rested for the second half. Sophie Schmidt on in her place.
  • Buckland with a nice move to the end line and a perfect rolled ball back to Schmidt who finishes the move with a clunker right in the keepers arms. That should have been the third.
  • Booth out, Chelsea Stewart in.
  • This game is stuck in dullsville
  • Martinez gets in behind Woeller and Moscato on good long ball. McLeod though, reads it early and very well and comes 30 yards to clear it before Martinez can get a touch
  • Kelly Parker in, Buckland off. Timko pushed up to striker as Parker settles into her office on the right side of midfield
  • Herdman demanding quicker ball movement; asking players to play two touch
  • Blatant hand ball of a Kyle shot not called. Officiating lacking quality much like Canada in the second half. They simply have to do better than this in terms of the last ball into the box.
  • Officially left Dullsville and headed for Grimsville
  • 12417 announced crowd
  • Gayle is one of the few with naturally strong 1v1 attacking ability but just hasn’t applied it as much as I’d like to see. Creative moves, pace and knocks a good ball in.

While it was all good and noble for Herdmann to get all the players some playing time it really just served to expose the lack of attacking depth they have and the scary degree to which they’re reliant on Sinclair. Costa Rica will realize this was not Canada’s top eleven but it will still give them hope that they are within a few lucky breaks of beating Canada and avoiding the States in the semis.

Here’s the final stats for the game:

Statistics/Estadísticas                                       CANADA                         CUBA

  1. Goal Attempts/Tiros Totales                               26                                     0
  2. Shots on Target    /Tiros al Arco                          14                                     0
  3. Saves/Atajadas                                                        0                                        11
  4. Fouls/Faltas                                                             7                                        9
  5. Corner Kicks/Tiros de Esquina                           14                                      0
  6. Offsides/Fuera de Lugar                                       2                                         0

Stats are not always the best indicator of how a game played out but when they’re this one-sided it’s realistic to expect that more than two goals should go in.

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3 Responses to CONCACAF Olympic qualifying: Canada v Cuba

  1. RR says:

    Such a one-sided match, and not a single fist-pump or high-five from Herdmann… Sundhage should be outraged.

  2. MJ says:

    Breaking down a bunkering defence requires technique in tight spaces and we were clearly lacking that. Hard to believe with all the resources poured into girls soccer across the country that a handful of ball wizards can’t emerge– it’s been a few years post-Pellerud now….

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