By far the biggest crowd of the tournament. Fair to say it’s full of energy here at BC Place. A large group of noisy Mexican supporters have taken up a spot in the opposite corner to where the Voyageurs are. If the lower bowl holds 25 000, I’d go with about 15 000 as the crowd right now.
Standing ovation as the teams enter the stadium for the anthems. Anyone who suggested that Mexican fans would outnumber Canadian fans….hope you didn’t put money on that. This is overwhelmingly a Canadian crowd.
So Canada opt for
Wilkinson, Woeller, Chapman, Sesselmann
Scott, Schmidt, Parker, Sinclair
An aggressive, attacking formation that could at times look more like a 4-3-3 when Sinclair pushes up and presumedly Parker would sit in front of Scott and Schmidt. We’ll see.
Mexico go with:
Santiago, Sandoval, Rowold, Mendez, Noyola (NCAA player of the year), Diaz, Dominguez, Garza, Ocampo, Ruiz, Perez
Brazen prediction: 2-0 Canada
- Canada winning the early midfield battles with Schmidt looking sharp but the Mexicans grouped up in the corner are far louder than the Voyageurs thus far.
- Tancredi has got to stay more central. Coming wide for balls is not her game and not what Canada need from her this game.
- The Canada midfield is Scott in the holding role with Schmidt to the left and Parker to the right. Anyone’s guess if Sinclair is a mid or a striker but she’s already been dangerous once.
- Parker finally involved with a nicely weighted ball in the box for Tancredi but Julien should be looking to get onto those balls. She’s been invisible so far.
- Increasingly Mexico are just launching long balls up to a solo Dominguez. Chapman and Woeller dealing with these easily.
- 1-0 Canada in the 15th minute! Tancredi finally stays central and acts as a target perfectly laying a ball on for Sinclair coming from a deep position. Takes a touch and slots high on Santiago. Nicely executed goal and that’s what Tancredi needs to do. Act as a target against the smaller Mexican defenders. That ball was laid off perfectly.
- Noyola’s playing in the hole behind Dominguez but Scott is picking her up and dominating the battles and that space in general.
- Sinclair releases Tancredi clear through with a great one touch half volley pass on the turn. Herdmann is definitely onto something playing Sinclair where he has her now.
- Fantastic second goal by Canada with Sinclair one of the architects again. Neat ball played in to her by Wilkinson and she angles it through to Parker one touch but gets studded harshly in the process. Parker’s one touch to Tancredi, posting up in the middle is met with a first time finish past a helpless Santiago in goal. Scored in the 23rd minute.
- Now that everyone’s taken their seats I’d put the crowd closer to 18000.
- You can sense Christina Julien is getting frustrated. Can’t seem to get going and not getting much of the ball. Canadian midfielders doing very, very well; particularly Sinclair and Scott.
- Dominguez’ frustration shows as she chops Sinclair and gets a yellow. Jawing ensues. Sinclair laughs at her and trots off. Nice.
- Desiree Scott mops up more than a supermarket janitor after an earthquake.
- End of the first half and Canada is cruising. Took their foot off a bit after the second goal but maybe that’s just because Sinclair picked up a knock and isn’t 100%. Canada goes as she goes unfortunately.
A very assured performance by Canada in front of a boisterous home crowd. Waaayyy more atmosphere here than at a Canucks game and they are feeding off it. Canadian midfielders dominated that half and if they play as well and composed as this against the States, assuming they hold on for the win, it will be a very interesting game on Sunday.
- Wow. Noyola off at the half. That’s how much Scott had her in her pocket.
- Frustrations continue for Julien. Gaping net from 12 yards and a Mexican defender just gets enough of a toe on it to deflect her shot wide for a corner.
- Mexico come close. Guajardo, who came on at the half, blows by Sesselmann and puts a great low cross in. Brilliantly defended by Chapman. Mexico come close again off the ensuing corner. Game is not over…
- Kyle warming up. Comes in for Julien. She did struggle.
- Sinclair pushes up to a proper striker position and Schmidt takes her place at centre mid. Kyle in on the left.
- Good sub. Gives us a more defensive look in midfield but puts Sinclair higher up the field where she will worry Mexico’s central defenders.
- Canada is 30 minutes from a summer in London.
- Can see Sesselmann being the next off. Doesn’t look 100% and Mexico seem to attack her whenever they can now.
- Yep. Melanie Booth comes on for Sesselmann who was injured in the first game vs Cuba. Canada down to one sub left.
- Mexico pushing now. Leblanc tested on a solid rip.
- 2-1. Ensuing corner is punched clear but a howitzer from Perez running in as it rolled out to the 18 means it is GAME ON.
- Sinclair gives up possession cheaply and three seconds later Canada are dealing with a dangerous ball into their box….again.
- Canada starting to make a meal of this. Mexico bossing possession. Tancredi frustrated after being obviously fouled, getting no call and then being told to go off (even though no medical attention provided)
- Wow. Schmidt off for Timko in the 75 minute. Not sure about that one.
- Sinclair in the 76th minute! 3-1! Tancredi with the retro long ball over the top to an on rushing Sinclair who takes it the bounce and knocks it over Santiago’s head. Crowd noticeably relieved.
- 22954 announced crowd. CONCACAF Olympic women’s qualifying record.
- Calling it now with four minutes to go: Desiree Scott – Player of the Game
- Even though Sinclair has two and set up the other, I think the work rate and consistent destroyer work she’s done as a holding mid has been exemplary and incredibly important for stretches when Canada was under pressure.
- It’s over. Canada to the Olympics. Tears on both sides on the field. Canadian players ecstatic. They were made to earn it in the end. Players taking a well earned victory lap. And then they go mob Kara Lang working field level at the Sportsnet set. Great moment.
- So it’s Air Sinclair to London this summer.
- Half an hour after the final whistle and the players are all still signing autographs. Women’s soccer is a different world.