Whether you’re world champions or Olympic gold medalists, you know you have a target on your backs.
The Canadian women learned that the hard way Saturday, dropping a 2-1 decision to Mexico at the Mexican national team training center in Mexico City, Mexico.
The loss ended Canada’s record 12-match unbeaten streak this year.
The hosts tallied in each half to grab a two-goal advantage before the Tokyo Olympic champions scored a late goal.
Mexico was awarded a penalty kick in the 18th as Vanessa Gilles collided with Mexico’s Diana Garcia in the box. Stephany Mayor drilled the PK past goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan a minute later.
The hosts doubled their lead in the 76th minute. A free kick was played into the penalty area and although Sheridan was able to make a great first save, the rebound popped up to the on-rushing Alicia Cervantes who had a tap-in header.
Ten minutes later, Canada pulled one back. Quinn played a chipped cross into the middle of the box. The first header popped up and Jordyn Huitema followed it up and place the ball in the bottom left corner.
Victoria Pickett and player of the match Cloé Lacasse made their debuts for Canada while Marie Levasseur and substitute Sura Yekka returned to the lineup for the first time since 2017 and 2015, respectively. Huitema scored her first goal of the season and 14th of her international career.
“I thought first half we tried a new system with some new faces, and I loved our response in the second half. It was the Canada that I know that will take it to the opposition,” Canada head coach Bev Priestman said in a statement. “Overall, in the grand scheme of things it is a loss and we never want to lose, but at the same time we are moving forward in terms of tactics and faces despite having a depleted squad. What I liked is the response and that is the Canada response with that mindset and that resilience. We have to keep moving forward and taking games to opposition. What I saw second half is what I would like to see going into our second game.”
The Saturday morning match was the first of back-to-back friendles against the hosts in Mexico. The second match is on Tuesday night.
“We knew we would have a tough opponent today,” said Lacasse, who came in as a substitute in the second half. “We tried a different formation in the first half and were learning different things with new players. It was my debut and I am really excited to represent Canada for the first time. Next time I hope we get the result we want.”
Added Huitema: “Everyone who came into the second half was just trying to bring some energy. We were on top of them for a lot of the second half and we could have made it even more and came back and tied or won the game. There is a lot of learning that we can take from this first game to work out those fine details as we prepare for the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and it is about going along with the process.”