Matching up for the first time since last summer's instant classic, the United States defeated Canada, 3-0, in a physical friendly.
The United States was able to defeat its northern neighbor in the semifinals of last year's Olympics in what will go down as one of the greatest games of all time, and this time around, Alex Morgan scored two terrific goals in the second half to propel the Americans to another victory.
In front of a raucous crowd at BMO Field in Canada, things were a little slow from the onset. In the first 45 minutes, the teams combined for just four shots, with two coming on target.
Tom Sermanni's squad controlled the opening action:
Barnhart catches that CK easily. 18th minute. Game still a little choppy, but USA is playing mostly in Canada defensive half.— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) June 2, 2013
But going up against Canada's newly implemented 3-5-2, the Americans weren't able to create many chances. Normally a team able to open up the game and fire off a heap of shots, they found themselves frustrated with a defensive battle that took place mostly in the center of the pitch.
Then, as the half wore on, Canada began to look more up to the task on the offensive attack:
Canada enjoying their best spell with some pressure late in half here. #canWNT 0-0, 44'.— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) June 2, 2013
Legend Christine Sinclair had arguably the best chance of the half in the 43rd minute when she was put through on a nicely timed pass, but Nicole Barnhart, who was filling in for Hope Solo, came off her line to make the calm save.
Coming out of the locker room, the world's No. 1 squad brought immense pressure.
Alex Morgan found her way behind the defense in the 53rd minute, but 17-year-old Kadeisha Buchanan made a brilliant recovery after the American took a sloppy first touch:
Take a bow. Kadeisha Buchanan with an OUTSTANDING block on Alex Morgan. Goal saver. #canWNT 0-0, 53'.— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) June 2, 2013
Moments later, when birthday girl Abby Wambach put a header on goal (as she tends to always do), Buchanan once again came through with the goal-line save. The young defender was spectacular on the day.
Canada's strong defense would eventually crumble, however. Either that, or Morgan finally woke up.
In the 70th minute, Morgan, who was having an otherwise underwhelming game, took a pass from Wambach, beat a defender and slotted a clinical finish with her left foot to the opposite post to make it 1-0 and continue her dominance of Canada:
Alex Morgan has five goals vs Canada, tied for her most vs any country (also Sweden).— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) June 2, 2013
Two minutes later, with a near carbon copy of her first strike, she made it six total against Canada and 2-0 on the day:
@alexmorgan13 Seriously brilliant finishes. Fun to watch . Go USA!— Mia Hamm (@MiaHamm) June 2, 2013
Substitute Sydney Leroux only added more fuel to the rivalry when she scored a goal in injury time and told the Canadian crowd to be quiet:
I think the Surrey-born striker just moved up to No. 1 on Canada's villain list, but she probably doesn't care after her country's dominant 3-0 win on Sunday.
Leroux addressed the situation on Monday:
When you chant racial slurs, taunt me and talk about my family don't be mad when I shush you and show pride in what I represent. #america— Sydney Leroux (@sydneyleroux) June 3, 2013
Alex Morgan, USA: A
It was quite the polarizing game from Morgan.
She was seemingly in for nothing more than an off-night. She took a bad touch and was far too hesitant on an early goal-scoring chance and misfired on a few other passes in the final third.
But the 23-year-old's two goals were absolutely world-class and more than made up for any other mistakes she may have committed.
Crystal Dunn, USA: B+
Dunn didn't get a lot of attention, but she was highly involved in the midfield and made a slew of plays despite being in the center of physical play.
The 20-year-old has an extremely bright future for this country.
Kadeisha Buchanan, Canada: A
Speaking of bright futures.
Buchanan is only 17, but as we already mentioned briefly, she didn't back down against some of the world's best forwards, and for the most part, she held her own.
While the Mississauga native made a few mistakes, she was thoroughly impressive in clearing the back and continued to fight down the stretch despite clearly running out of gas.
Christine Sinclair, Canada: B+
Sinclair, who scored three goals in that semifinal in London in one of the greatest single performances ever, wasn't able to continue her magic against the United States.
It's difficult to make an impact when the ball is in the opponent's half for most of the game, but Sinclair still had a solid day when she was able to get her foot on the ball.
|Nicole Barnhart||A||Erin McLeod||B-|
|Christie Rampone ||B+||Emily Zurrer (78')||C+|
|Crystal Dunn (63')||B+||Carmelina Moscato||B-|
|Heather O'Reilly||B||Rhian Wilkinson (72')||B+|
|Carli Lloyd ||B+||Diana Matheson||B|
|Ali Krieger||B+||Kadeisha Buchanan||A|
|Lauren Cheney ||A-||Desiree Scott||B+|
|Alex Morgan (82')||A||Christine Sinclair ||B+|
|Whitney Engen||B+||Sophie Schmidt (68')||B|
|Tobin Heath (74')||B||Melissa Tancredi (61')||B-|
|Kristie Mewis (63')||B||Tiffany Cameron (61')||B+|
|Sydney Leroux (74')||A||Kaylyn Kyle (68')||B|
|Christen Press (82')||B||Robyn Gayle (71')||B|
|Danica Wu (78')||B|
The United States takes on Korea on June 15 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, while Canada takes on Germany on June 19.