Down to 10, Canada hang on to beat Australia 2-0

Emily Dulhanty August 3, 2016 86
Christine Sinclair scored an insurance goal in the 80th minute to secure the win for Canada.

Christine Sinclair scored an insurance goal in the 80th minute to secure the win for Canada.

Down to 10 players for 70 minutes, Canada was able to hang on to beat Australia 2-0 this afternoon in a thrilling opener to Group F play at the Rio Olympics.

Janine Beckie opened the scoring for Canada just 20 seconds into the match, the fastest goal in Olympic women’s soccer history. It was a sloppy play from Australia at the back, and high pressure from the Canadians forced a turnover to Christine Sinclair, who served a perfect cross for Beckie. Beckie slotted the ball in the back of the net past keeper Lydia Williams.

Canada made more Olympic history in the 19th minute, though this time it wasn’t so positive. Shelina Zadorsky, the last defender back on the play, pulled down Australian striker Michelle Heyman and was given a red card for denying the obvious goal scoring opportunity. It was the fastest red card in Olympic women’s soccer history.

Canada brought on center back Rebecca Quinn in the 23rd minute in place of Melissa Tancredi for a defensive substitution.

The rest of the first half was a frantic affair, with Australia getting close to scoring on multiple occasions. Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe was very shaky coming out for balls in the air, but the Aussies were not able to capitalize on her unease.

After the break, Canada came out much more organized and were able to defend in numbers and take the sting out of an Australian team that were desperate for a goal.

After withstanding pressure from the Matildas, Canada had two great chances of their own in the 73rd and 77th minutes. Canada were awarded a penalty for what looked like a phantom handball call on Caitlin Foord in the 73rd minute. Beckie stepped up to the spot, but her penalty was a weak one, and Williams made the diving save to keep the score at 1-0.

A few minutes later, Fleming got in behind Australia’s back line and had a 1-on-1 with Williams, but the keeper was able to get a hand on Fleming’s shot, and defender Laura Alleway swept up the rebound on the goal-line before it could trickle into Australia’s goal.

But Canada broke through in the 80th minute. They counter attacked with a long ball from Jessie Fleming to Sinclair, who was alone in the middle of the park. Williams came way out of her net but was not able to get to the long ball before Sinclair, who took a touch around Williams. Sinclair was able to finish her chance to give Canada the 2-0 lead.

Australia used all of the attacking talent they could, with Lisa DeVanna and Kyah Simon brought on in the second half, but the they were not able to buy a goal, and this one ended 2-0.

Next up for Australia is a date with Germany on Saturday, while Canada will play Zimbabwe, sans Zadorsky, who will serve her one match suspension.

  • Guest

    Unless it is for injury, why on earth would you take out Kerr? Her and Gorry are my favorite players in WOSO. I would have also started De Vanna over Logarzo. Catley did not look like her usual self. Alleway seems scared to go forward

    • Guest 2

      Overhyped Aussies are toast now. They can’t beat crap Canada. Bye.

      • donjerue

        Spoken line a Fern….

      • Ashley C

        I love how some people on here never want to give Canada credit. Don’t pretend if your team won 2-0 while down a player the majority of the game that you wouldn’t be applauding that. Certainly Canada is a long ways away from the best team and their football isn’t always pretty but it was a good game to watch.

        Australia is a good side when they want to be. Their qualifying to get here wasn’t any old cakewalk either. The football isn’t always great after the first few highly ranked teams but much like the WWC, these are necessary growing pains to make WoSo competitive for the future.

        • Steglitz49

          To lose 0-2 to a side playing with 10 players for most of the match says it all.

          Australia are likely to go through as one of the two 3rd placed teams. It may well be Sweden who go home to an early bath.

      • MurderOnZidanesFloor

        I’m sure England were toast after losing to France last year as well. Australia will still likely get through the group, providing they can hammer Zimbabwe, then it will depend who they meet and whether they can pick it up a bit.

        • Steglitz49

          It all depends on the Germany game.

    • JL

      Kerr is still getting her fitness back after injury.

      • Bruce

        Most active on the pitch up until the minute she left. Puzzling sub.

        • JL

          But she’s not fit for 90 minutes yet. If you watched her last game with SkyBlue before leaving for the Olympics, she played the entire match and was noticeably gassed after 60 minutes.

          • Steglitz49

            The classic problem for teams with small player pools.

            The US can afford to bring Pinoe but the other teams can’t. Worse, when an injury strikes, like it has to Sweden and Germany, a snap decision has to be made whether to bring in an alternate or hope for recovery.

            In a larger sense, can WoSo in Australia cope with a poor team performance in Rio? After the success in WC-15, what will be the impact back home if Australia went home to an early bath? (Granted, they may still get through on a wing and a prayer, so all is not lost yet.)

  • AlexH

    What is Sinclair on right now? 163? I think catching Abby is probably a reach but I wouldn’t mind her getting a few more on her way to losing the gold medal game to the USA.

    • anon

      I would have been interested to see what Sinclair could have done on the USWNT. She has achieved much despite being on a fairly weak team.

      Or maybe the fact that she has often been a one-woman show is beneficial to her numbers.

      • Ashley C

        Yes – would have been fascinating to see Sinclair on the USWNT and surrounded by the same players. Can only get a real glimpse of that when she’s with Portland.

      • x

        Sinclair wouldn’t have gotten all those goals+caps as a teenager for the US. She’d have been competing with young Parlow, peak Hamm/Lilly, and old Akers for playing time around the time she broke into the CanWNT.(to say nothing of Wambach).

    • Guest

      honestly I straight up don’t care for Abby, so I’d love to see Sinclair beat her. Just my personal preference tho, lol, even as an American

  • Andrew

    I have to say, I really feel for Christen Press. Her timing was just awful breaking into the NT, what with Carli Lloyd #nevergivingitupever. This NZ game would have been the perfect time to see her paired with Alex. Instead we get to see the Lloyd show, AGAIN, against a relatively weak opponent. Ok, rant over.

    • Guest

      well she has looks and charm in spades, so she’ll be ok even if she’s never a focal point of the team. She still gets many opportunities her teammates don’t, despite not being a starter.

    • donjerue

      Wrong game thread people…..

  • anonymous

    I still think we need better distribution from the backline to CM’s. JJ “The Booter” Johnston is creating too many hail mary chances for the relatively weak NZ side, for my tastes.

    • Guest

      USA relies long balls to targets. We have the athletic depthness/talent such that it works. There is no build up play for the USWNT. We play ugly soccer, but it works, because we have the athleticism to make it work.

      • Bruce

        That was not the strategy. It was how they played today, though thanks to piss poor performances in the center midfield.

        • anon

          are you an insider? because we always play like this.

          • donjerue

            Wrong game Einstein!

          • Bruce

            This is how the EQ roles every single day. It’s more of a chat room than article thread. Roll with it.

          • Steglitz49

            The EQ used to have excellent articles and covered American lasses playing abroad. Harjeet covered Euro-13 in a series of fine articles, for example.

            It changed a couple of years ago. I relate it to becoming part of soccerly. Something snapped. Maybe Jeff does not have the time to edit it anymore?

        • guest

          I’d pin it on the backline’s inability to take clean touches to facilitate quick ball movement or make accurate passes to the correct foot as much as center midfield deficencies. The center halves move the ball so slow from sideline to sideline that the flank players have a defender in front of them by the time the ball gets to them. It would also be better if Brian or Long had an accurate 40 yard diagonal or Lloyd provided any sort of acceptable link up play.

      • Ethan

        Maybe as a whole the US doesn’t play “pretty” football in your eyes, but there was nothing “ugly” about Morgan’s goal. That was lovely football from Long all the way to Morgan’s finish.

        • guest

          The difficulty really seems to be getting into those attacking positions starting from the back. There were also other times where I thought the ball was in a good area and there was just too much posting up in the 18 for a header. I’d like to see Lloyd and Morgan more involved with the creativity pieces around the edge of the area. Morgan more than Lloyd since I see Lloyd and the US’s own Marouane Fellaini.

      • Cc W

        Actually, if you have been watching, that isn’t the way they play now. it is more technical more quick passing breaking down the defense, finding and taking space and right now, this is the prettiest soccer I’ve seen from the USWNT.

        • Bruce

          Totally right on where the team has been going. Today was a step back.

          • Andy

            It looked to me like it was very intentional. Show nothing and don’t waste energy against an easier opponent. Do just enough to win. France will see a higher level of tactics and energy, but even then, most will be saved for the knockout stages.

      • sudeep das

        You haven’t watched USWNT recently then. Anyway Labbe is a wreck with aerials in the box. We saw that in the Oly Qualifiers as well.

    • Ashley C

      They need a Hummels’type player who is very good/confident at playing from the back, can make difficult outlet passes and isn’t scared to join the attack and go forward when possible. Sometimes we’re far too eager and rush the play only to kick it up the field and give the opposing team possession again.

      That’s always been the technical side of things they can improve on. Obviously what they’ve been doing has had great results for years now but it’s never a bad thing to work on stuff like that.

      • Guest

        Sounds like Sonnett (your first paragraph)

        • David K Anderson

          Precisely. It’s one of the strengths of her game.

          • guest2

            Not to shoot down the Sonnett idea because she is, by far, the best dribbler among the US center halves, but I think Engen might be the best passer out of the bunch. She played some excellent penetrating balls in her minutes in the last tune up game and, if memory serves, some excellent direct long balls against Germany at the SBC. From a technical standpoint I’d make the argument that Johnston is the worst with the ball at her feet. I think the coach thinks her set piece prowess and her work without the ball makes up for her very apparent deficiencies with the ball at her feet. I think Sonnett will be a starter for the NT much sooner than later though. She’s been excellent for Portland so far and has hardly looked like a rookie apart from the odd mistake.

          • Guest

            I do not know where this myth comes from that Johnston is a terrible dribbler / terrible with the ball at her feet. Did you watch CONCACAF Final where she didn’t have a passing outlet so she continually dribbled around Tancredi and onrushing Sinclair? Or in Germany WWC match where she pulled off some incredible moves in the final third to create half chances? Yes, she hits some innaccurate long balls but that does not make her a terrible dribbler. And in terms of her being terrible with the ball at her feet, I would much rather have somewhat hit a few inaccurate long balls but also makes some good passes to get the attack going (like her superb pass to Press a few games ago), than someone like Sauerbrunn who can only pass the ball amongst the back line.

          • mike

            Uhh did you see Chicago vs Portland where JJ tried to dribble out of the penalty area!! Dreadful!! Sinc pounced and scored!! JJ is popular because she scored a couple goals on set pieces during the World Cup.
            It again shows that you can do all the hard work you want but in the end it depends on the personal preference of the head coach if you end in the starting line up.

            https://twitter.com/AlexiLalas/status/689628076804730880

          • Guest

            Yes I saw. There’s a difference between being terrible at dribbling and being unaware. That mistake did not have to do with her being bad at ball handling or bad at passing, it had to do with decision making and awareness.

          • Steglitz49

            Some would say that being white and blonde to boot helps.

          • guest2

            This is my rationalization for the comment about Johnston from what I’ve seen of her over the last year with the NT and CRS. Johnston’s first touch is often very loose causing the ball to travel farther than necessary away from her body when recieving passes. This results in her having to take more touches on average than the other defenders to get the ball back under control and more time to pass before she releases possession. This is much more important to the USWNT’s speed of play than Johnstons ability to send a forward pressuring the wrong way which all 4 CBs are capable of doing. Johnston’s direct long balls are inaccurate to the point that I don’t even want to see her attempt them. O’hara and Johnston are prone to going for it(direct long balls) way more than I think they should.

          • Frozen Blue

            Your right about Engen, she makes some excellent passes out of the back, would like to see her for a full 90 against Columbia to see if she can continue it.

          • Timber Dave

            Emily Sonnett is an alternate, which means she makes the game-day 18 only if there’s a tournament-ending injury to another defender. Hope that doesn’t happen.

  • Miami66

    Impressive, most impressive. Clearly gunning for Gold after London…can Canada sustain it through the entire thing? Without McLeod?

  • donjerue

    Christine Sinclair is a BEAST, she single handedly set up the opening goal with the steal and incredible pinpoint nutmeg pass, and the sealed the deal by beating both the Aussie GK and Defense to an open ball to seal the deal. If she had taken the PK (why not coach, she is the 2nd leading ALL TIME international goal scorer, behind only Abby Wambach, whom she will probably surpass in the next few years) and a header chance she misfired on,it would have been a total blowout. Considering the Canucks were down a player from the 18′ mark on, she held her team together and proved why she is the captain, and one of the world’s best. I’m an American, but I have no problem saying this

    • Steglitz49

      What is the female of Canuck? Canuckette?

      • Canadian

        Canuck

        • Steglitz49

          as in duck and drake?

          • Canadian

            Its called a Canoose goose. I aint know no Canuck duck

          • Steglitz49

            As i, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander?

  • Ashley C

    -No easy feat to play down a player vs Australia most of the game and
    hang on to win 2-0. Herdman has been rightfully criticized in the past
    for questionable tactics/subs but I thought he was much better today. I’d
    imagine his love of sports psych and brain training also helped them
    mentally. I’d be curious to see if he secretly wants to finish 2nd in
    this group…

    -Labbe’s issues with any aerial threats will be a
    problem throughout the tournament and I’m pretty harsh on her – but she
    came through when she needed to today. She has to be far more confident
    and commanding in the air because teams like Germany will make her pay
    the price badly. McLeod was always confident when she went for the ball and Labbe has to do the same.

    -Thought Quinn, Fleming and Buchanan had good games. Very aware of everyone on the pitch. Chapman as well.

    -I was surprised at how flat AUS looked but I’d imagine they were nervous. They’re definitely better than what they showed today so I hope they can click at the right time. I’m also curious to see how the current fragile state with the Breakers affects Simon’s play in Rio.

    • Steglitz49

      Losing 2-0 to Canada was not smart. Germany will be a harder battle. Luckily for Australia, Brazil put three past China and Sweden only managed one against South-Africa. Germany is the key to Australia.

  • Awesome display of courage and commitment from Team Canada women’s soccer

  • anon

    Sydney Leroux might be the second woso player ever to reach 1 million followers after morgan. so she’s going to be back yall.

    • Guest

      meh, I think she’s angling for a TLC reality show. TLC is one of her sponsors… even though she isn’t currently playing soccer. Hilarious that she has that many followers despite being almost irrelevant in the sport for a couple of years.

      • Steglitz49

        Heidi Weng’s new boyfriend is some docu-soap or reality-show star so don’t knock those media too hard.

    • guest

      i wouldn’t be surprised if leroux setup fake accounts just to follow herself to pad her stats.

  • Cc W

    Well done by Canada! But Australia – what happened? Have all the goal scorers you want, but the GK play is always the difference between the teams that win championships and those who don’t. The Sinc goal was a horrible decision by Williams. Labbe on the other hand, made the saves.

    • sudeep das

      But in the 1st half Labbe was so shaky on anything aerial towards her. Matildas missed a tactical pressure on Labbe there – not enough crosses in the box.

      • Steglitz49

        There are no sweets for being tactically inept.

        • sudeep das

          I agree. No excuse for not cracking a 10 women Canada. It was a very gritty match though. I enjoyed it a lot.

          • Steglitz49

            The Matildas may well be going home to an early bath.

      • Cc W

        She’ll certainly be tested against Germany – that Popp goal – not many keepers are stopping that shot.

    • Tom F

      very disappointing game by Australia, They got unlimited resources at fwd, but unfortunately they couldn’t use their speed much since Canada went into a shell after going down a man(woman). The Matildas defenders were always their weakest point, but even their best one, Kennedy, got the ball stripped off her by Sinclair for the first goal. Can’t really say if they can make a comeback. Obviously Devanna & Cately were off too/or not at their prime
      Never been a fan of their coach Staj. Odd lineup, but then again they got Germany next, so maybe he wanted to rest his players for that game? But again, the game plan always seemed to fo straight up, inside, even though they had open players waiting around at the side to make cross kicks

      • Steglitz49

        It does not make sense to rest for Germany because Australia were more likely to beat Canada than Germany.

        I would like both Australia and NZ out of the tournament but would settle for one of them.

    • #1Fan

      this point is a very underrated part of the US dominance.

      • Cc W

        I’m a big fan of Hope, and I understand others aren’t but she comes up big time and again. If the US wins the gold, Hope will have made some saves that other keepers wouldn’t.

  • Gary Diver

    Did Shelina Zadorsky’s red card play remind anybody of Julie Johnston’s pull-down in the WC15 SF?

    • sudeep das

      Yeah it did and, also, how lucky she was not to be sent off. Would that have impacted the game – we will never know.

      • Steglitz49

        The Germans know — and will remind you in 2065.

  • Gary Diver

    The referees called a handball in the penalty box against Australia that the video replay did not show to be a handball. It is sad when games are decided by serious incorrect calls.

    • thegirlnextdior

      and janine missed it too, what kind of poetic justice

      • Gary Diver

        Yes, there is a soccer god!

      • Guest

        Why didn’t Matheson or Sinclair take that? You could tell she was going to miss the second she walked up.

        • Guest

          Herdman’s focus since the WC has been developing the youth players and giving them more and more responsibility. That means he needs them to get experience in high-stakes game moments or they’re going to flop when Sinc and Matheson retire

    • JL

      In this case it wasn’t, because Beckie had her kick saved.

  • MurderOnZidanesFloor

    Canada did very well. Losing Zadorsky should have made it game over but they dug in, worked hard and defended brilliantly. Sinclair looked great, she might have lost most her pace, but she still thinks faster than anyone else on the pitch. Quinn did well when she came in, more good performances from Buchanan, Lawrence and Fleming bode very well for the future. Really looking forward to seeing Lawrence in the NWSL next year, Seattle need a left back right?

    Australia on the other hand were plain awful. I thought the selection was odd and whatever Stajcic had planned didn’t pay off at all. I’d sooner gouge my eyes out than watch Polkinghorne play right back again. Kerr looked good and must have came off due to fitness issues, but she also wasted their best chance of the night. Gorry and Kellond-Knight were decent in midfield, and Heyman worked hard, but other than that its difficult to name anyone that wasn’t awful. They’ll get through regardless, due to being drawn with Zimbabwe, but they can’t afford a performance like that in the knock out rounds or they’ll head straight home. Maybe its good they got it out their system though, its not game over yet.

    • Steglitz49

      Australia might not get through regardless because if Germany take them to the cleaners, then they may not make because of worse goal difference.

      • MurderOnZidanesFloor

        Its possible but I’d back them to finish with at least 3 points and positive goal difference, which will be hard for New Zealand/Colombia to beat, and given South Africa’s performance China might struggle to beat that now too.

        • Steglitz49

          NZ vs Colombia could play a draw, in which case Sweden and Australia likely will be on easy street.

    • Frozen Blue

      I was really surprised at Australia’s poor finishing, they should have tied that game even before Canada went down to 10.

      • Steglitz49

        Should have, would have, could have.

        Let’s see what happens against Germany.

  • Yikes!

    And Herdman was insufferable before!

  • Deep breathes

    Canada’s fortunes may very well rest on whether or not Beckie can find some composure in goal scoring opportunities. The goal was nice, but the misses recently can’t continue if Canada is going to succeed.

  • ‘Plex Proud

    Rebecca Quinn – Spirit trained!