5:30am matches are the best-only when your team wins.
Canada kicks off its first game of 2011 at the 4 Nations Cup versus host nation, China. I missed out on the first dozen minutes of the first half due to streaming issues, however when I tuned in, Canada was already on their back heel. In the 19th minute, China's 23, You Jia put her country up 1-0. From then on Canada looked nervous. China was playing a controlled style while Canada played long balls and scrambling in front of the net. This did not serve well for Canada as they quickly went down 2-0 in the 36th minute, scored by Jia again.
In the second half, Canada seemed to settle down a bit. The ladies created more chances and started to play more organised. Tancredi and Sinclair created most of the chances, heading the ball wide and shooting the ball on net. No score yet, but momentum built. In the 56 minute, Tancredi received a pass from mid field, broke past the Chinese back line and chipped it far post, putting Canada back in the game. Big Red continued to pour on the pressure. Sinclair became very frustrated with herself after missing numerous opportunities, but those emotions were short lived. By the 80th minute, Sinclair marked her first goal of 2011 with a short angle shot, sending the ball post to post then in. At this point I think we were all just happy to tie it up. A draw would be enough. But no, not for our women, they continued to push for that final goal. With less than a minute left in the match, a draw seemed inevitable. Don't say that to Captain Clutch though. Literally, at the last second, Christine sprinted past the defense and shot the ball in the back of the net, lifting Canada to a 3-2 win over China.
Worth mentioning: Erin McLeod started in net today after being absent from the national team for months. Her play was respectable considering she just came back from a torn ACL. She can only get better from here. Jodi-Ann Robinson also made a reappearance on the national team. Not sure why she was absent from camp for so long, but will try to find out more. Her play was great. Since joining the team, Robinson always had such poise and natural skill. One too many touches though, but nice to see some more flare on the team. With two goals in this match, 114 in her career, Christine Sincair is tied with Julie Fleeting in 5th for all time goals scored in the world. Any guesses on how long it'll take her to get to #1?
An early morning game, but well worth it to see Canada win.
D: Nault, Zurrer, Chapman, Wilkinson
M: Moscato, Matheson, Kyle, Tancredi
F: Sinclair, Foligno
Leblanc in-McLeod out '46
Shmidt in-Moscato out '45
Robinson in-Foligno out '68
Gayle in-Nault out '75
Scott in-Kyle out '82
Video: Inslight on the win vs.China from Sinclair and Tancredi : http://bit.ly/hadLrP http://bit.ly/fbBhN8