On February 18, the Canadian Soccer Association announced that the Canadian Women’s National Team will play the United States Women’s National Team on June 2nd at 4:30pm ET at BMO stadium in Toronto. The match will be Canada’s first friendly on home soil in 2013.
Although ‘international friendly’ is the official name for the match, Canadian and American fans know this is one of the most prolific rivalries in women’s soccer. It will serve as a rematch of the 2012 Olympic Semifinal, where the United States came from behind on three separate occasions to beat the Canadians 4-3.
Canadian coach John Herdman was on hand for the press conference in Toronto, and said, “There will be massive pressure in this game. It’ll be great exposure for the team.”
Although there is a rich history between the two teams, the United States has not lost to Canada since 2001, when Canada beat the Americans 3-0 in an Algarve Cup match in Portugal. The Americans’ all-time record against their neighbors to the north is 44 wins, 5 draws, and a mere 3 losses.
About the rivalry, Herdman remarked, “This game is a bit personal. I’m not afraid to say that.”
“High quality matches on foreign soil are always tremendous challenges and are excellent environments for our team to grow,” said new United States head coach Tom Sermanni. “Surely the USA-Canada match will be filled with emotion and these are the type of games our players very much look forward to.”
The Toronto friendly will be a sort of homecoming for many of the Canadian players, as twelve—including five from the 2012 Olympic roster and seven from the 2013 Yongchuan Cup (China) roster–have hometowns in the greater Toronto area. One of the Olympians, bronze medal match goal scorer Diana Matheson (Oakville, Ontario) was on hand for the press conference. She relishes opportunity to play the Americans, stating, “It’s always a battle. I have never personally beaten them, so I can’t wait until June 2nd.”
US forward Abby Wambach and Canada striker Christine Sinclair, the two highest scoring active players in the women’s game, are likely to suit up for their respective countries in the match. Both are currently chasing Mia Hamm’s all-time goal scoring record of 158 goals, with Wambach at 153 and Sinclair at 143. Depending on what happens in upcoming international fixtures for both countries, these women may still be chasing the record at the June 2nd friendly.
Nineteen of Wambach’s 200 caps have come against Canada, and she has scored ten goals against the Canadian side. Likewise, Sinclair has scored eleven goals in 31 games against the Americans, having earned 190 total caps in her senior career for Canada.
June 2nd is another milestone for Wambach, as it will mark her 33rd birthday.
The USWNT has played once previously at BMO field, a 4-0 win for the Americans in an international friendly on May 25th, 2009, in front of a crowd of 10,255 fans. The field has since been converted from FieldTurf to natural grass. The CSA will be working with Canadian supporter groups as well as Umbro, the Canadian team’s official sponsor, to sell tickets for the match. The attendance record for BMO field, home of MLS’ Toronto FC, is 22,453, and there is no doubt that the CSA will try to reach this attendance figure. CSA’s general secretary Peter Montopoli says they hope to sell out BMO field.
“We will need a great crowd to push us over the edge against the US,” Matheson added. “I have no doubt we’re going to sell out this crowd.”
Tickets go on sale on March 22nd via Ticketmaster, and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN in the US and on the four main Sportsnet channels in Canada.