Tag Archives: Christina Julien

Canada Brings Home Pan American Gold

Mexsport; CSA

That title has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? The Canadian Women’s National Team captured the top prize at the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico by defeating Brazil in dramatic fashion. Following a come-from-behind 1-1 draw in regulation and a scoreless overtime, Canada struck gold with penalty kicks, 4-3.

Twenty year-old Debora opened the scoring just 4 minutes into the match. The Brazilian striker headed towards three Canadian defenders and was given an excess of space to dribble up field before unleashing a top corner beauty from outside the box.

Canada was able to stay in the game thanks to a series of critical saves by Karina LeBlanc, especially late in regulation time when Brazil began peppering the Canadian net. Brazil outshot Canada 22-13, while Canada maintained 57% of possession.

As the clock ticked away, it appeared that Brazil was on its way to claiming another PanAm gold medal. However, like the 2011 Women’s World Cup quarter-finals against the USA, Brazil was undone late in the game by an equalizer off a header. This time it was at the mercy of Christine Sinclair being her usual clutch self. Canada won a corner kick in the 88th minute and Diana Matheson sent in a perfectly struck ball. Sinclair circled around goalkeeper Barbara to head it in with ease and forced the game into overtime.

But 30 minutes was not enough to break the deadlock between the teams, so the dreaded, heart wrenching penalty kicks were to settle the score.

Matheson converted the first Canadian PK with confidence, as did Francielle for Brazil. Upon the second round, Barbara was in a rage when she got a glove on Sinclair’s shot, but it wasn’t enough to keep it out of the net. Maurine and Melanie Booth were both successful in their respective shots from the mark. Canada took the lead following Brazil’s third PK when Grazielle placed her attempt up the middle for an easy stop by LeBlanc. Sophie Schmidt put Canada ahead once again and Ketlen answered back. It was 4-3 heading into the fifth set of PKs; things got momentarily tense for Canada while Brazil saw a glimmer of hope when Candace Chapman’s strike rattled the right sided post. The next kicker, Debora, had an opportunity to play hero for Brazil once again if she could tie up the results, but LeBlanc guessed the right direction to make her second PK save and secure first place.

Watch highlights of the final, Canada vs. Brazil, Brazil’s medal ceremony, Canada celebrating the win and the gold medal ceremony.

The win marks Canada’s first PanAm gold in women’s soccer, and John Herdman’s first tournament win since taking over the team in September. Canada previusly claimed fourth (1999), second (2003) and third place (2007) since the sport was included in the PanAm Games 12 years earlier. Brazil had won back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2007, and with the absence of any US team, it appeared to be theirs for the taking. Alas, it was yet another second place finish (see: the Women’s World Cup, Olympic Games and Torneio Internacional Cidade de São Paulo).

2015 will be a marquee year for the Canadian Women’s National Team with the Women’s World Cup being staged across Canada from June 26-July 17 and PanAm Toronto July 10-26. The overlap makes it highly unlikely that the senior team will be able to defend their title as the reigning PanAm Women’s Soccer champions. But with that aside, the build up in the next 4 years will be exciting times for the sport in the country. Whether it’ll be about seeking World Cup redemption or potentially instilling confidence in our youth team to represent us at the PanAms in place of the full squad, it’s all taking place in Canada. There’s no better feeling than playing (and winning) on home soil, right?

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Canada Puts Away 8 Goals Against Guyana. And Sinclair is All Sorts of Awesome.

CBC.ca/sports

With a convincing 8-0 victory over Guyana, Canada has officially qualified for the semi-final stage of the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifiers. The first ever match up between the 2 nations featured a quadruple by Sinclair and a line up that proves head coach Carolina Morace isn’t afraid to have her youngest players on the field at the same time.

-Morace made 6 changes to the starting line up that faced Trinidad and Tobago on Friday night. Canada started off against Guyana with Stephanie Labbé* in goal, Chelsea Stewart*, Sophie Schmidt, Candace Chapman and Rhian Wilkinson (Robyn Gayle, 46′) in defence, Desiree Scott*, Kaylyn Kyle (Brooke McCalla, 54′) and Carmelina Moscato* in midfield, and Kara Lang*, Christine Sinclair and Christina Julien* (Jonelle Filigno, 39′) up top. This was Labbé’s second cap and first ever start. Schmidt, who normally plays as a central midfielder for Canada, was shifted to the left side of central defence in order to rest Emily Zurrer, who required stitches after taking an elbow to the side of the head. Diana Matheson, an integral part of Canada’s midfield, was also rested and perhaps as a precaution after picking up a yellow card in the first game. With Filigno being subbed on at the end of the first half, both of Canada’s youngest players (age 20 and the other being Stewart) were on the field. All 20 players on Canada’s roster have now picked up minutes during the tournament, while 17 different players have started.  (* Indicates players new to the starting line up).

-With only 1 goal scored in their first game, Canada was looking to pick up the numbers this time around.

  • 15′ into the game, Julien got things going when she ran onto a Wilkinson throw in and placed a left footed shot to the near post for the opening goal. The Guyanese backline never challenged Julien, so she just let the throw in roll across the penalty area before finding her mark.
  • The first of Sinclair’s 4 goals came in the 34′ off a Canadian corner kick. The ball bounced out of the gloves of Guyanese ‘keeper, Catherine Kobelka, as she attempted to make the catch. Lang’s presence prevented Kobelka from smothering the rebound, and Sinclair tapped the ball in with her right foot.
  • By the end of the first half, Guyana had kept the score to a respectable 2-0, but the floodgates would open right from the start of the second half. Just 46 seconds in, Lang ran to the end line as she wrestled her way past a defender and somehow managed to keep the ball in play. She then cut it back to a wide open Filigno to slot in the shot. Interestingly enough, the first 2 goal celebrations were somewhat muted, but beginning with this goal the team finally seemed to be at ease.

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