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Canada fired up to face Brazil on holiday weekend in nation’s capital

VANCOUVER, B.C – Canada Soccer will take on Brazil on Sunday, September 2 in Ottawa, at TD Bank Stadium. Coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller will be looking to see if 5th ranked Canada can build momentum before 2018 Concacag Women’s Championship in October. Canada will play the first of three Group B match on October 5 at H-E-B Park in Edinburg, Texas.

Playing a high level opponent like Brazil will present a terrific challenge for Canada. They’ll be going up against a quick, creative, and possession oriented side. When you have a player like Marta available, it’s always going to be difficult to keep her, and Brazil in check. This is exactly the kind match Canada wants to test themselves against.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Ashley Lawrence could be someone who Heiner-Møller calls on to defend Marta. Back home in Caledon, Ontario following her second season in Féminine Division 1, Lawrence can’t wait to play against Brazil on Labour Day weekend.

“I’m really excited that we’ll be playing Brazil in September.” Lawrence told The Equalizer by phone. “They’re ranked 7th. We’ve played them a lot of times now. They’re a good test for us right before the qualifiers. I’m happy to be back in Ottawa. Yeah, this will be a great test. We want to show the fans all the hard work we’ve put in and of course get the victory.”

Canada has had a lot of recent success against Brazil, most noticeably when they defeated Brazil 2-1 in São Paulo to win bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Canada and Brazil made a habit of facing each other in 2016 with Canada winning three of four matches.

Janine Beckie scored at the death to help Canada beat Brazil 1-0 in Ottawa on June 27, 2016. Canada will look for some more magic at TD Place Stadium.

“Bringing Brazil to Canada for this match in September is an extremely important opportunity,” Heiner-Møller told Canada Soccer. “Brazil is an incredibly challenging team, with a wealth of talent, so having the opportunity to play them ahead of our FIFA Women’s World Cup qualification campaign will give us a good opportunity to test ourselves against another top ten team.”

Luckily for Canada, this match falls in line with a FIFA window. That means that the likes of Ashley Lawrence, Kadeisha Buchanan, Sophie Schmidt, Stephanie Labbe, and Erin McLeod should be released from their European club teams and available to play.

Coach Heiner-Møller will be looking for his first win at home. Canada came up short in a 3-2 loss to Germany on June 10 in Hamilton, Ontario. While the score wasn’t in favor of the red and white, it was a good learning opportunity for Heiner-Møller and Canada.

There’s obviously an adjustment period when a new coach takes over, but with Heiner-Møller, he’s someone Lawrence and her teammates were already very familiar with.

“He was a part of the staff before.” Lawrence said, of Heiner-Møller. “He was familiar with the team, players, and mindset. It’s not been a big change from John (Herdman). His coaching style is different. We want to be number one in the world, and we want to continue on that path. Yeah, it’s just been great, and I hope it continues on.”

It’s always an exciting match when two of the best footballers take to the pitch. Christine Sinclair and Marta should be ready to put on a show. Canada will want to continue dominance over Brazil, but it might not be the same with Herdman gone. Brazil on the other hand, you know they won’t forget who won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Notes: The Central American Zone and Caribbean Zone qualification for the Concacaf Women’s Championship will conclude on 2 September, the same day Canada faces Brazil in Ottawa.


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