Of their first motion in practically a yr, it was a blended bag for the Canadian ladies’s soccer crew on the SheBelieves Cup.
With a brand new coach and a plethora of accidents and roster challenges, what ought to we make of their one-win, two-loss efficiency?
Did the event assist reply any roster questions forward of the Tokyo Olympics 5 months from now? What are the primary areas that have to be labored on? We handle these questions and extra.
Was the event a hit for Canada?
Sure and no.
It was a little bit of a thriller what to anticipate from Canada going into the SheBelieves Cup given it had been 11 months since they final have been collectively.
They’ve a brand new coach in Bev Priestman together with main roster challenges previous to the event, like accidents and membership commitments.
WATCH | CBC Sports activities assesses Canada’s efficiency on the SheBelieves Cup:
Given these hurdles, the crew performed pretty effectively. With half the gamers on in-season kind and the remaining simply getting began, they put up a stout efficiency in opposition to the world champion United States, conserving a clear sheet till Rose Lavelle’s objective within the 79th minute.
Priestman additionally had the chance to construct this system’s depth, giving 4 gamers (Evelyne Viens, Jordyn Listro, Jade Rose and Samantha Chang) their first cap.
Can we already give Bev Priestman a good evaluation?
No, however the crew appears to be on the right track.
No coach, particularly one thrust into the place simply 4 months earlier than, needs to be judged primarily based on a crew lacking six to seven starters, together with three of its high gamers — Christine Sinclair, Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence.
Canada additionally performed fairly effectively out of the again and stayed affected person, which was one thing Priestman had hoped the crew would accomplish. There was hardly ever a panicked clearance or ill-advised cross up the pitch.
From all participant accounts, they have been impressed with Priestman’s preparation and communication. In accordance with Desiree Scott, who wore the captain’s armband in Sinclair’s absence, there was a “good vibe” at camp.
Priestman’s subsequent look on the sidelines with Canada will probably be in an April 13 pleasant in opposition to her native England, with whom she served as an assistant for over two years.
What areas should Canada handle forward of Tokyo?
Canada’s objective for Tokyo is well-stated. After back-to-back bronze, it is about altering the color of the medal.
Nonetheless, to do this Canada might want to beat high tier opposition and rating targets. Two issues the Canadians have been missing the final couple years.
In its final 10 matches in opposition to high 10 nations, Canada has zero wins, eight losses and two attracts. Not precisely confidence-boosting outcomes. The final win in opposition to a high nation got here in opposition to England in April 2019.
Purpose scoring has been much more of a priority.
WATCH | CBC Sports activities’ Signa Butler explains the SheBelieves Cup:
Canada scored only one objective in three video games on the SheBelieves Cup and when you take a look at these final 10 video games in opposition to high 10 nations, Canada was outscored 20-3. Bear in mind, these are nearly all of groups it’s important to beat en path to the medal spherical in Tokyo.
However Priestman appears to the opening sport in opposition to the No. 1 People as a reference level on this event of what Canada is able to, even with out key gamers.
“I believe the group is extra decided than ever. They’ve advised me they need to change the color of the medal and to do this we have to get fitter, we have to hold pushing ahead, we have to be extra medical,” she stated post-tournament.
Aside from Sinclair, Janine Beckie is Canada’s high objective scorer amongst energetic gamers with 31 and she or he was amongst these irked by missed probabilities on the SheBelieves.
“It is irritating to take a look at this event and see that we solely put one likelihood away. As a ahead, I take that on my again, together with the others who play within the entrance line,” Beckie stated after Canada’s remaining sport.
Largest battles going into Tokyo squad choice?
Goalkeeping seems set in stone with Kailen Sheridan and Stephanie Labbe. Sheridan suffered an harm early within the opening match in opposition to the U.S., so that can have to be monitored. It is a place of depth with McLeod, Sabrina D’Angelo and uncapped Rylee Foster, a former youth worldwide who made the roster for SheBelieves.
To make the 18-player roster, having the flexibility to play a number of positions is unquestionably an asset.
The fullback scenario is unbroken from Rio with returnees Allysha Chapman, Buchanan, Zadorsky and Lawrence. Two main candidates to affix them are Gabrielle Carle and Jayde Riviere, who suffered an harm within the Brazil sport. Each can play wingback and transfer ahead in assault.
WATCH | CBC Sports activities’ Signa Butler chats with Canadian soccer participant Deanne Rose:
Enjoying her approach onto the radar in a giant approach was Bordeaux centre again Vanessa Gilles. What she could lack in tempo, she makes up for in positioning and hard-nosed defending.
The largest battle will probably be within the midfield and it is a place Canada must solidify particularly in the event that they anticipate to compete in opposition to these high nations.
To inject some youth into the midfield lineup, Priestman could must make robust decisions or make room via carrying much less forwards or defenders. The 2023 World Cup is not far off, so having some youthful gamers on the Olympics will probably be essential for carrying on the crew’s legacy as soon as the veteran core retires.
As for the strikers, 4 of the 5 from Rio are nonetheless enjoying and seem like locks — Sinclair, Beckie, Nichelle Prince and Deanne Rose. Once more, if Priestman carries 5 strikers there is only one place up for grabs and a number of other candidates to take it — Huitema, Adriana Leon and Évelyne Viens.
The 19-year-old Huitema (13 targets in 33 appearances) and 28-year-old Leon (19 targets in 69 caps) have the upperhand on Viens, who made her first look for Canada at any stage within the SheBelieves, coming in instead in all three matches.