Canada defeats Mexico 3-2 in Bronze Medal Celebration match

Harjeet Johal February 4, 2017 26
Canada's Josee Belanger defends against Mexico's Monica Flores and Nancy Antonio. (photo by Canada Soccer)

Canada’s Josee Belanger defends against Mexico’s Monica Flores and Nancy Antonio. (photo by Canada Soccer)


VANCOUVER, B.C. – Canada’s Bronze Celebration Match was a success after a 3-2 victory over Mexico. The match was much more than an international friendly between the 4th (Canada) and 26th (Mexico) ranked FIFA teams. This was an opportunity to say farewell and thank you to retiring players Melissa TancrediRhian Wilkinson and Marie-Eve Nault. The trio have a combined 377 caps and have given so much to Canada.

“0It’s a bit overwhelming,” said Tancredi. “I’m happy that we won, absoultely. It’s nice to see everyone sticking around for autographs, and just really soaking it in. It was going to be an emotional day for sure, and the game itself was going to be up and down and pretty scrappy. Yeah, it all came true. At the end, as soon as that final whistle went, everything just rushed.”

Christine Sinclair was feeling emotions after reflecing on the long journey she has had with her close teammates.

“I mean, so many emotions,” said Sinclair, “The first thing is proud that I’ve been able to call these three individuals teammates, and friends. We’ve literally taken on the world together, and shared heatbreaks. We’ve had our dreams come true in Olympic games. It’s been quite the ride.”

John Herdman’s squad showed that the future is indeed bright. Janine Beckie scored a first half brace after Deanne Rose opened the scoring. Nancy Antonio and Katie Johnson scored for Mexico.

Marie-Eve Nault started at centerback and wore the captain’s armband. Wilkinson entered the match in the 57th minute, and Tancredi came in the 76th. Both players received a roaring cheering from the 22,508 fans in attendance at B.C. Place.

“I’m not going to process it just yet,” said Wilkinson, “I’m just enjoying it. Being out there seeing the fans one last time. I had my family here. I had my family here, Marie-Eve had her, and Melissa. It’s a very special day, and everyone really went out of there way to make it a day we will never forgert. It’s amazing.”

Canada opened the scoring in the 14th minute after Deanne Rose broke through the Mexico defense and raced past Annia Mejia. Rose calmly chipped the ball over a sliding Bianca Henninger, who was making her first appearance in goal for Mexico. The 17 year-old Rose scored her 5th international goal for Canada.

The momentary advantage did not last long for Canada. Rose mistimed a clearing opportunity outside Canada’s box, and Nancy Antonio raced in past a pair of Canadian defenders before finding the back of the net past goalkeeper Steph Labbe.

It was a back-and-forth first half with both teams eager to put on a good showing. Henninger was not getting much help in front of goal, as her young defenders were out to lunch when Janine Beckie curled in a shot from distance in the 24th minute. The Canadian onslaught of offensive pressure continued. Christine Sinclair was tripped up in the 38th minute by Christina Murillo. Canada was awarded a penalty, which Janine Beckie stepped up and delivered. Henninger guessed wrong, and it was quickly 3-1 Canada. 

John Herdman made a switch in goal before the second half kicked off, and Sabrina D’Angelo replaced Steph Labbe. Mexico came out in a new shape and quickly pressed the Canadian back-line. A momentary defensive lapse helped Mexico cut the lead to 3-2 when Monica Ocampo sent in a corner that was converted to the back of the net by Seattle Reign striker, Katie Johnson. The former USC Trojan had all sorts of time and space with no Canadian player anywhere near her. 

Mexico Coach Roberto Medina did well to organize his team during the interval. Mexico was the better team in the second half and offered a much more competitive half. Canada did well not to concede a another goal. Wilkinson and Tancredi both got a run out and helped join Marie-Eve Nault in preserving another win for Canada.

Player of the Game, Janine BeckieOn an afternoon honoring retired and retiring players, it was a young striker that stepped up her game and show the promising future of Canada. Janine Beckie’s first-half brace set the tone for Canada. She was excellent in finding space and turning to score her opening goal. She sent Henninger the wrong way on her penalty, and she was dangerous throughout the match. Supporters won’t have to worry about goal-scoring and finding someone to link up with Christine Sinclair, since Beckie has shown she is more than capable of taking the torch from Canada’s players that have given so much.

Canada Starting XI: Steph Labbe, 46 (Sabrina D’Angelo); Allysha Chapman, Shelina Zadorsky, Marie-Eve Nault(C), Josee Belanger, 57 (Rhian Wilkinson); Sarah Stratigakis, 72 (Nichelle Prince) Desiree Scott, Jessie Fleming; Janine Beckie, Deanne Rose, 76 (Melissa Tancredi) Christine Sinclair(C), 4-3-3

Mexico Starting XI: Bianca Henninger; Clarissa Robles, Christina Murillo, Annia Mejia, Monica Flores; Nancy Antonio, Natalia Gomez-Junco 58, (Karla Nieto); Monica Ocampo(C), 64 (Maria Sanchez), Stephany Mayor, 88 (Teresa Noyola), Kaite Johnson, Kiana Palacios. 4-4-2

  • wosofan

    Houston Dash is going to be dominant next year.

    • mockmook

      How about this year? 😉

      But, seriously, there is the concern that the roster isn’t that different from the one that “failed” last year.

      • Forgedias

        Yeah but that was the Olympic year and didn’t they miss like 6 or 7 starters because of that? You may still be right because the defense is still questionable but they will have their full roster. Houston was one of the worst hit out of all the NWSL teams so I think they will do better this year.

        • mockmook

          I suppose that is true. Especially if Ohai, Brian, and Lloyd can all get on the same page.

          Could bode well for the USWNT, too (in the near term).

    • Guest

      I’m not sure why this would be the case given how bad they were last season. Ohai is seriously overrated here imo but now that she is on the cusp of the NT maybe she will be more motivated than last year (first part of the season).

    • SpiritFan80

      I don’t know about dominant……hopefully better than last season. They will have all of their players for the whole season, barring Injuries, for the first time ever. Lloyd could have a big year for the club with no NT “distractions”. Ohai seems to have finally started to live up to her potential out of college. If they don’t make playoffs, expect Waldrum on the chopping block.

  • Som Termanni

    > Steph Labbe, 46 (Sabrina D’Angelo)

    Odd. Vancouver Sun recap said it was Kailen Sheridan who subbed for Labbe. http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/soccer/canada+downs+mexico+tancredi+wilkinson+nault+goodbye/12847716/story.html

    Canada Soccer’s match report says it was D’Angelo: http://www.canadasoccer.com/?gid=1418&t=match

    Gonna go with Canada Soccer on this one, but what an odd error for the Sun to make.

  • Som Termanni

    Perth Glory blew out last season’s finalists Sydney FC 5-1, behind goals by Vanessa DiBernardo (2, one of them a PK), Rosie Sutton, and Shawn Billiam, as well as a Sydney own goal by Alanna Kennedy off a Sam Kerr cross attempt. Kerr also had an assist, and Sutton’s goal was off a deflected shot from Kerr.

    Kennedy’s own goal was the first ever in the W-League playoffs.

    Kyah Simon scored the first goal of the match, which would be Sydney’s only goal. All five of Perth’s goals followed unanswered, all but one in the second half and three in the final 15 minutes. http://www.w-league.com.au/article/w-league-glory-punish-sydney/11gbtc69oeq2q1v65373d2h3pn

  • newsouth

    Ashley Sanchez should help their forward situation in a couple yrs.

  • First game?

    It’s photo captions like this one that make me wonder just how much the EQ staff knows about soccer.

    • frosty

      They say the best defence is a good offence

  • Tom F

    There’s quite a few Mexican-America players on their side. What’s the scoop on Sofia Huerta? I know she said she prefers the USWNT, but is she an actual member yet? She looked great in the last game for Adeleide. If there’s still chance, Mexico should come begging on her door step..But that all goes out the window is she’s all ready been capped by the US seniors

    • guest

      she wants to be a USWNT millionaire rather than play for a country that could care less about womens’ sports. can you blame her? she’ll keep trying, but won’t make it.

    • Reality

      Huerta was not selected by the United States team for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan in August 2012. She joined the Mexican team instead. However, although Huerta played for the Mexico NT a few times, she did not play for them during the 2015 World Cup qualifying event that would have cap-tied Huerta to Mexico. She states that it is her intention to try to make it on the international stage with the United States, not Mexico.

      http://equalizersoccer.com/2014/12/27/sofia-huerta-declining-mexico-wants-play-uswnt/

  • Oh Canada!

    Based on the preview article Canada only accomplished half their objectives. They wanted 3-4 goals and a clean sheet. Also, there was to be no back sliding, which Harjeet’s description of the second half indicates happened.

  • SpiritFan80

    So great to see a packed house honoring the 3 players retiring and the 3 that retired previously. There was something special about that 2012 group and the way they battled back from that heartbreaking semifinal loss. I always root for the USWNT but I’ve had a soft spot for Canada since then. There is just something special about the team and I hope the same type of environment continues forward. Many of the former players are staying involved in the program in various capacities and that can only be a good thing.

    • Madgeplugo

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  • Reality

    News from France…OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS VS. OLYMPIQUE MARSEILLE 4 – 0

    Goals by Kumagai (30′ sp), Abily (37′), Le Sommer (55′) et Hegerberg (84′)

    Morgan starts but is replaced by Le Sommer (46′).

    http://www.olweb.fr/fr/article/feminines-l-ol-face-a-l-om-73256.html

    • Steglitz49

      sp = 11m?

      if you mean that Saki scored a penalty, the standard abbreviations are “p”, “pk” or “pen” depending on how many letters you prefer to use. The Germans write 11m, which is what they call a penalty: ein Elfmeter.

    • Excuses..Excuses

      Has she even scored a goal for Lyon yet?