Despite losing to Argentina (3-7), Canada had a very strong game against the World Champions, ranked #1 in the world and overwhelmingly favorites to win these Pan American Games.
The Canadian women started very focused on the task at hand and surprised the Argentineans with an early goal by Thea CULLEY in the 6th minute! They maintained their pressure and had a chance to increase their tally, but the shot went wide. Midway through the first half, Argentina, led by a Lucian AYMAR as dominant as ever, suddenly switched gear and scored four goals in quick succession, pushing the score to1-4.
Canada however did not slow down and replied with two superb goals of their own, first by Hannah HAUGHN in the 30th minute, then by Kate GILLIS, slotting in goal a fantastic reverse shot from a difficult angle. Half-time was reached on the close score of 3-4, much to the pleasure of the large crowd that was kept well entertained during this match.
Argentina scored 3 more goals in second half, but Canada never stopped fighting in defense and trying to mount swift counter-attacks when they got the ball. They were well backed by Azelia LIU, who had a superb match in the Canadian goal on her 100th International Cap. The Canadians also showed excellent resilience when they played short, on two yellow cards, never losing their form or their nerves.
Canada played today one of their most accomplished matches in a long time, against a team of superstars used to roll-over easily over most teams. The Canadian women’s team showed today, to the rest of the field and may be to themselves, that they can run with the best!
“We competed really, really well,” says Head Coach Louis Mendonca. “Overall, I’m very happy. We are definitely a very different team than we were about 4 months ago. The girls came to compete, they’re quite keen – and I think the tournament has just begun for us. Our next game is against Trinidad & Tobago. They are quite the opponent, but we’ll be prepared.”