On Thursday, Canada Soccer announced that their own Canadian Women’s National Team would have a pair of upcoming friendly matches against the U.S. Women’s National Team. Each team will have an opportunity to play in front of their home crowd during this two-game series. One match is scheduled for November 9th in Vancouver at BC Place and the second is scheduled for November 12th in the United States in a city that has not been named yet. This North American rivalry has always been a very intense one, but the U.S. has always gotten the better of Canada. The USWNT is ranked number one in the world, with the CanWNT not too far behind them in fourth. The two team's meet quite frequently when it comes to World Cup qualifying and Olympic qualifying as they are both members of CONCACAF. However, the last time the CanWNT were able to meet the America side was 16 years ago in 2001.
Five years since London
When thinking about the match between Canada and the United States, immediately everyone is drawn to London 2012. The North American rivalry took to new heights in the 2012 Olympics, where they played over 120 minutes of soccer to determine who played for Olympic gold. The match was back and forth for the entirety, and it was tied 3-3 at the end of regulation time. It was Alex Morgan, who was 23 at the time who sealed the deal for the USWNT in the 123rd minute. It was a heartbreak for Canada, but pure bliss for the Americans as they went on to win Olympic gold against Japan.
Numbers in the NWSL
With two countries in such close proximity, club play often overlaps. The National Women’s Soccer League is one of the top leagues for women in the world and it is based in the United States, so it is no surprise that many Canadians come over to play. When you compare the rosters of the two National Teams from this past year's Olympics most players play their club soccer in the NWSL. For Canada 11 of their 19 players on their Olympic roster play for one of the 10 teams in the NWSL. For the United States 15 of the 18 named to the Olympic roster play in the NWSL.
Battle of youth
Both the coaches of the USWNT and the CanWNT value having young players. Canada is home to Jessie Fleming, 18, and Jordyn Huitema, 16. Both have proved already that they belong with the senior National Team. In the CanWNT recent friendlies against Costa Rica, Fleming started and went the full 90 in both games. Fleming scored against Costa Rica during their June 8th match. Huitema came on as a sub during the second match and scored a brace. Both Fleming and Huitema were part of Canada’s bronze medal run in Rio 2016.
Across the border is young U.S. star, Mallory Pugh, who is just 19. Pugh had a first cap, first goal performance that not many other players can say the same about in January of 2016. Pugh has just recently joined the Washington Spirit of the NWSL. Pugh was just four months into her first semester at UCLA when she made her decision to go pro. Pugh and Canada’s Fleming were both enrolled at UCLA and set to play their first season together this upcoming fall.