“Obviously it was a really disappointing game,” says Team Captain Katie Baker. “I don’t think we played the way we wanted to today. It’s really disappointing, but at the end of the day we still have another chance to qualify for the Olympics. So we’ve got to keep working hard.”
“We were a bit flat today,” says Head Coach Louis Mendonca. “We never really got to do our full thing. Chile had four opportunities and they converted on three. We struggled – I’m not sure whether it was the big stage or our focus. We have high expectations now. The girls are quite disappointed because expectations weren’t met. I’m sure we can move on – all is not lost. We’ll now go home, regroup, and prepare for the Olympic Qualifier. The sun will come up tomorrow.”
The Canadian women did not win the bronze medal at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, losing to a more experienced Chilean team (0-3).
Playing for the first time in a medal game of a major championship, the young Canadian team started the match slowly. They seemed hesitant in their decision making, missing passes and ball controls. The Chilean were also playing a cautious game and most of the play was in midfield, neither team managing to control the ball long enough to create scoring chances.
Chile took advantage of Canada playing short two players (after a green and a yellow card) to force a penalty corner, which they converted in the 27th minute. Canada finished the period strongly, but could not close the gap.
The Canadians kept pushing hard at the beginning of second half, forcing Chile on their heels for a long period, but they could not generate good chances, or a penalty-corner. Chile scored again in the 42nd minute, after a long counter-attack that outran the Canadian defense, leaving little chance to Azelia LIU in the Canadian goal.
Canada then threw caution to the wind, trying desperately to come back in the match, but they exposed their defense in the process and Chile sealed their win with a third goal in the 67th minute.
The loss was a heartbreaker for the Canadian players, who have worked hard in the last year to increase their level. The Chilean team has been on the crying side of the bronze medal game at the last two Pan American Games, before finally stepping on the podium.
This Canadian team has great potential, with skilled young players and experienced leaders. They have now realized that they are on the right path to play with the top teams.