The CONCACAF teams at the 2015 Women’s World Cup presently being played in cities throughout Canada turned in good results so far with the USA and Canada getting wins in their opening games. Mexico was unfortunate not to get a win versus Colombia; ditto Costa Rica against Spain. Both had to settle for draws.
The USA grabbed the highlight of the tournament so far with its 3-1 victory and strong finish in a much publicized matchup against Australia Monday night at Winnipeg Stadium. Two-time World Cup winner USA, ranked No. 2 in the world, has not won the Cup since 1999 and is carrying the sting of a tough loss in the last Cup final in a penalty kick shootout against Japan.
The USA’s theme in this tournament is revenge!
Australia made the game very exciting as it unexpectedly went straight at the U.S. in a high-pressure strategy that worked for the first 25 minutes of the game. Although the Americans scored first when Megan Rapinoe’s shot in the 12th minute from outside the penalty area deflected off an Australian defender for the 1-0 lead, the U. S. struggled and could not develop any sort of rhythm to its game under the Matlidas’ high-pressure tactics, which led to Australia’s equalizer 15 minutes later. Lisa De Vanna was unmarked just outside the box briefly but had enough time to hit a hard low shot from about 19 yards to equalize. Unfortunately for the Australians, they had no answer for the U. S. better fitness, speed and depth; by midway in the first period, the U. S. settled in, picked up its game and didn’t look back.
In the 61st minute, speedy forward Sydney Leroux stormed down the left side of the Australian defense and provided the cross to assist on Christen Press’ go-ahead goal for a 2-1 lead. With the USA in full control, Rapinoe rapped things up with her second goal of the game near the end. U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo, in her third World Cup, made some spectacular saves during the early part of the contest to keep the USA in the game. The USA, in Group D, plays Sweden Friday, June 12 at the same venue and takes on an impressive Nigeria team, which rallied to tie Sweden, 3-3, on Wednesday, June 17.
Canada dominated China throughout this contest in the opening game on Saturday afternoon in Edmonton, but failed to put the ball in the net. The Canadians, a bit nervous at the start of the game, had to numerous opportunities to score but had to wait until stoppage time to get the 1-0 win. As the game wound down, the tired Chinese defenders who spent most of the game defending attack after attack by the Canadians, eventually committed a foul in the penalty area in stoppage time to give Canada a penalty; Christine Sinclair made no mistake in registering the first goal of the tournament.
Mexico and Colombia were searching for their first World Cup wins, but unfortunately, Mexico had to settle for a draw after leading 1-0 for most the contest last Tuesday night. Forward Veronica Perez put Mexico ahead early in the game when Colombian goalkeeper Stefany Castano miss played handled her cross and put the ball into the net. Mexico controlled the game and had number of chances to extend the lead before Colombia’s Daniela Montoya equalized with strong shot late in the contest. With less than five minutes to play, Mexico’s Charlyn Corral came up with the loose ball in a four-player scramble for the ball in front of Colombia’s goal and scored what should have been the late winner, but the goal was called back because of a foul on Mexico.
Costa Rica debuts
Costa Rica had to come from behind for a 1-1 draw with Spain as both teams in Group E made their first appearances in the World Cup, at Montreal Olympic Stadium Tuesday afternoon. Vicky Losada gave Spain the early lead, but Raquel Rodriguez Cedeno equalized for Costa Rica on a fast break that surprised Spain.
In other results, in Group E, Brazil beat South Korea, 1-0; in Group F, France topped England, 1-0; Germany beat Ivory Coast, 10-0; Norway knocked off Thailand, 4-0; Cameroon over Ecuador, 6-0 and Holland was a 21- winner over New Zealand.
The New York Red Bulls lost their third consecutive game, 3-1, at the Houston Dynamo on Friday night. Will Bruin scored twice and Oscar Boniek Garcia supported in the win. Mike Grella scored for the Red Bulls to give the visitors a lead in the 42nd minute. Garcia tied the game for Houston in the 59th minute, before Bruin got his brace. Meanwhile, New York City FC earned a 2-1 win at the Philadelphia Union on Saturday when Patrick Mullin scored the winner.
In Caribbean Cup Soccer last Sunday at Jefferson Sports Complex in Flatlands, Brooklyn, Team St. Lucia knocked off Team Antigua and Barbuda, 5-0. The winners got goals from Tana Weekes, Carlton Daniel, Kersan Marcellin, Daran Fedee and Taj Marcellin. Team Haiti, with a goal from Marvens Dominique and two from Alfred Sonthonax, beat Team Guyana, 3-0; and Team Jamaica scored through Daemion Benjamin and Denzil Watson to knock off team Trinidad and Tobago by a 2-0 score.
On Sunday, Jun 14, Team St. Kitts and Nevis plays Team Panama (1:30 PM), followed by Team Haiti versus Team Antigua and Barbuda; the final game will see Team St. Lucia go against Team Trinidad and Tobago.