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SheBelieves Cup preview: USWNT vs. Canada

SheBelieves Cup preview: USWNT vs. Canada on Thursday, Feb. 18

February 18, 2021 By Juan Aguerrevere
North America’s finest, the USWNT and Canada, will meet for the 61st time overall to close Matchday 1 of the 2021 SheBelieves Cup opening day.

Fox Sports 1 and TUDN will take care of the broadcast for the game in the United States, while fans in Canada rely on OneSoccer to watch the game. 

USWNT vs. Canada

The USA and Canada have been going at it since 1986 in a series where they have met 60 times. The USWNT has claimed 50 wins and Canada three. The other seven matches have ended in draws. The Stars and Stripes defeated Canada 3-0 last time out in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers Final in February 2020.

Will Canada be able to upset the Americans in their home ground in its first time competing at a SheBelieves Cup tournament? 

USWNT

The World Champions are the clear favorites to win against Canada and claim its fourth SheBelieves Cup title. Head coach Vlatko Andonovski has been perfecting the USWNT since his arrival on Oct. 28, 2019. The USA has yet to lose a game under Andonovski, winning 13 out of 13 games. The next three games will another test for the Americans in their search for perfection on the pitch.

Forwards Alex Morgan and Christen Press, both of whom missed the January training camp and the two games against Colombia due to illness, are back on the roster. Morgan will be looking for her 108th international goal to break a tie with Michelle Akers and move into the sole possession of fifth all-time scorer in U.S. history. Some notable absences from previous camps are Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, Tobin Heath, Samantha Mewis and Alana Cook. Krieger and Harris, who just announced the adoption of their baby, did not make the roster. Mewis and Heath are both dealing with ankle injuries. Moreover, Cook was not allowed to leave PSG as the Parisians are in the search for their first Division 1 Feminine title.

Player to watch - Carli Lloyd 

Forward Carli Lloyd is four appearances shy of becoming the third player in U.S. and world history to reach 300 appearances for her country. Lloyd, who is the third all-time goalscorer in USWNT history, will be one appearance away from reaching the 300 mark if she features in all three games. The 38-year-old did not feature in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers Final against Canada and will be looking forward to making the starting 11 on Thursday. 

Canada 

The 2021 SheBelieves Cup will be Bev Priestman's debut as Canada's head coach. Priestman, who worked as an assistant coach for England beside Phil Neville for three years, was hired to coach her nation in October 2020. She had previously coached Canada's U-17 and U-20 Women's National Teams. The 34-year-old knows Canada women's soccer inside out now has a chance to lead the nation to victory. Unfortunately for Priestman and her players, Canada has not played a game in 11 months due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Other than lack of play, Canada is missing some of their most important players in Christine Sinclair, Diana Matheson, Erin McLeod, Bianca St. Georges, Kadeisha Buchanan, Jordyn Huitema and Ashley Lawrence. As a result, Priestman is turning toward young talent in Canadian Youth International Player of the Year Jade Rose, Deanne Rose, Evelyn Viens, Jordyn Bistro, Jessie Fleming, Rylee Foster and Samantha Chang. However, all eyes will be on veteran midfielder Sophie Smith who will play her 200th game for the Canadian senior team after a 16-year international career.

Player to watch - Evelyn Viens

Forward Evelyn Viens is one of the many young Canadian stars heading to Orlando who are looking to make their mark in the Senior team. Viens, who was the No. 5 overall pick of the 2020 NWSL College Draft from the University of South Florida to Sky Blue FC, will be looking to make her senior team debut against the USA on Thursday. The striker scored eight goals and dished out an assist in 12 Division 1 Feminine games on loan to Paris FC. Priestman will consider using her as an attacking option alongside the likes of Deanne Rose, Nichelle Prince and Janine Beckie. 

How to watch USWNT vs. Canada on TV or live streams on Thursday, Feb. 18


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