ORLANDO – The Canadians have some work to do if they want to bring home a third consecutive Olympic medal this summer.
Canada, which earned bronze medals at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Games, have wrapped up its first competition of 2021 international season with a 1-2-0 record after dropping a 2-0 decision to Brazil at Exploria Stadium Wednesday night.
With several players unavailable through injury or not released by their professional clubs, Canada featured 21 different players across the three international matches, including debuts by Evelyne Viens (against USA), Samantha Chang, Jordyn Listro and Jade Rose (against Argentina).
“We had a great chance to assess the group and some players really stepped up across the three matches,” Canada head coach Bev Priestman said. “It’s now about getting that chemistry right and putting the ball in the back of the net. It will be important in April to have the whole squad available so that we can work on that chemistry leading into the Olympic Games.”
Brazil scored its goals in the 15th and 39th minutes. On the first tally, Debinha jumped on a rebound from inside the six-yard box after an Adriana shot hit the post and came out. On the second one, a series of Canada failed clearances spilled to an alone Júlia on the right who fired her shot into the Canada goal.
The Maple Leafs’ best chance came in the 42nd minute after Deanne Rose pressed an out-of-position goalkeeper Bárbara into a turnover. With Bárbara rushing to get back into goal, Nichelle Prince fired a long shot towards goal, but the shot was wide of the target.
A few minutes later, goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé made the save of the game with an excellent right hand stop on an Adriana shot. Labbé’s tipped the shot off the crossbar and followed up to help Gabrielle Carle clear the ball from danger.
In the second half, both sides made several changes and Canada continued to press on goal, but they were unable to cut the Brazil lead.
In the 71st minute, a give and go between Beckie and Lindsay Agnew led to a pass across goal that Adriana Leon just missed to redirect on the far side. A couple of minutes later, a lovely Leon run down the left side and shot from inside the box hit Evelyne Viens’ face and nearly beat the goalkeeper Bárbara.
In the 85th minute, Zadorsky nearly scored on a diving redirection from a Beckie free kick, but the ball hit the post and stayed out. Zadorsky tried to knock in the rebound from the ground, but Brazil managed to clear the Canada chance.
“We have a resilient group and some good depth that we have been able to assess,” Priestman said. “In the second half, we saw more of a representation of what we expect, from the aggression to being on the front foot and creating chances. Ultimately what you saw out there today was some new players and new partnerships on the pitch.”
Over the past two seasons, including a lengthy break because of the world pandemic, Canada’s international record is 5-4-2.
The Canadians’ next international test is against England April 13. The match will be broadcast live on OneSoccer. Fans will find extended coverage across Canada Soccer’s digital channels on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube featuring the hashtag #CANWNT.