The Canadian women appeared to have a dream start to the Games, going up 1-0 on the hosts less than 10 minutes in, that was until they gave up the equalizer in the dying minutes of the second half. Beyond getting rid of some jitters, the opening game clarified much of what needs to happen for Canada to make it a hat trick of gold medals.
One thing was painfully obvious: this team needs to find a way to be creative up front. Badly. Once the Canadians get into the attacking third, every move is painfully predictable. This isn’t to say that they didn’t pose a threat, because they did, but that was more of a result of Japan’s poor defending than anything else.
Too many of Canada’s attacks ended with a weak lob into the box or with an extra pass rather than a ball carrier opting for a shot. The Canadians have the skill to put the ball in the net, they just don’t seem to know that yet.
If they want to get past Chile, and eventually other top teams in this tournament, there needs to be a little bit of something different happening up top. The injection of Deanne Rose in the Japan game appeared to help with that, but it can’t fall on the shoulders of a singular player.
These concerns are nothing new, as goals have been few and far between for the reigning bronze medalists over the last year. Some players to look for who might be able to change this would be Evelyne Viens and Adrianna Leon, who have both impressed under Priestman. Viens in particular seems to have come out of nowhere and asserted herself as an attacking threat every time she touches the field. Priestman even highlighted her when speaking to squad selection, commending the youngster’s consistency in being up in the offence.
Will you be staying up, or getting up, to watch the Canadian women take on Chile? Kickoff is set for 3:30 AM EST on July 24 and you know you can find me on Twitter from kickoff to final whistle. Come say hi @caseyydobson_