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  • Writer's pictureElias Laradi

Soccer: Canada loses SheBelieves Cup Final to US in dramatic shootout

On Tuesday, Canada suffered a similar fate against the US in the SheBelieves Cup final being played at Field in Columbus, Ohio, albeit a better performance than one month prior.

This is the reality when you get to the wire defensively”, Bev Priestman told the Canadian media post-game. “I'm proud of the group there's some key players out, people stepped up, took it to the wire.”

Canada and the US finished 2-2 after 90 minutes and as per tournament rules the game went straight into penalty kicks where Emily Fox scored the game-winner in the seventh round.

"In penalties, we have a process. Nerves can be affected, no matter what the stats say of what they've done in training. It's a great experience." - Canada Head Coach, Bev Priestman on the shootout

Adriana Leon scored a brace while Sophia Smith who came into the game in the second half also scored a brace in a game that was dramatic to the end.

"The more I analysed us playing against a back three, I wanted us to be aggressive on the sides. There's some great learnings, that's why we're here. We'll review to make sure we're getting the attack of Ashley Lawrence and Janine Beckie. We had good moments, I'd like to see more."

The game once again was also a battle of the goalkeepers and both Kailen Sheridan and Alyssa Naehar played outstanding.

In the 29th minute, Sheridan made her first big save of the game as she denied Jaeden Shaw who found herself in a one-on-one situation but was denied by the Canadian keeper.

"I think the USA usually plays with a box, and we did our prep for that. In the first half, I felt we shut off the middle of the pitch. We were really pressing, and they go and drop a ball over the top, and their pace is unstoppable."

Canada opened the scoring in the 40th minute as Naehar came out of her net and collided with Ashley Lawrence who somehow got the ball to Deanne Rose who found Leon resulting in a finish into the empty net.

"Some of my selections were based around the vulnerabilities we saw in the USA. I think I'll try to keep my tactics up my sleeve in case we play them again."

Near the end of the first half, it seemed like Jordyn Huitema had gotten injured and she was subbed off early and after the game, Priestman was asked about her status but didn’t have an update.

"I don't have anything concrete on Jordyn, but I'm hoping she's going to be okay."

Five minutes into the second half the Americans equalized when Sophia Smith who entered the game at half-time fired a shot from just inside the box that was too powerful and it was 1-1.

In the 68th minute, Smith scored her second goal of the game and she was able to get a quick pass from Trinity Rodman and was able to beat Sheridan to give the US a 2-1 lead.

16 minutes later, Crystal Dunn the American central defender made contact with Leon in the box and the ref pointed to the spot and Leon converted on the spot kick to make it 2-2.

In the shootout, Canada jumped out to a 2-1 lead after Jessie Fleming and Leon scored while Sheridan stopped Rodman but couldn’t stop Smith.

It went back and forth as Jade Rose missed while Naeher scored on her penalty kick to make it 2-2 and in the following round Cloe Lacasse failed to score while Lindsay Horan put one into the back of the net to give her country the 3-2 lead.

In round five ,Julia Grosso converted while Sheridan stopped Emily Sonnett and in the following round, both Ashley Lawrence and Abby Dahlkemper scored to make it 4-4.

In the final round, Naeher made a huge save on Evelyn Viens which set up the game-winner for Fox who had no issues beating Sheridan to clinch a seventh SheBelieves Cup trophy for the home team.

After the game, Priestman was asked about the importance of penalty kicks and said tonight was a good overall experience to experience doing it in a packed stadium.

"It's so important. We're living it live with a full stadium & that can't be rehearsed. There's not one practice where we haven't done them. There is a reality around Jade Rose, for example —unbelievable PK taker but she's young. It's the experience that's critical." - Bev Priestman

Once again the subject of getting a roster down to 18 players came up and Priestman once again spoke about how the decision could be one of the most difficult in her coaching career.

"The biggest challenge is getting this squad to 18. Once you know that, you can develop fluidity and partnerships. That'll be the balancing act, to be honest."

Canada now has a potential to play four more games before the Olympics in July with two in the May-June window and two in the July window before the team takes off for Paris.


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