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International women’s friendly match recap: México 2, Canada 1

México plays perhaps their most complete game in memory, knocking off Olympic Gold Medalists Canada 2-1.

Mexico v Colombia - Women’s International Friendly Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

México has long wanted to prove it belongs in the conversation around being one of the top teams in CONCACAF, and after a pretty convincing 2-1 win against Canada in the Centro Nacional de Alto Rendimiento (CAR), it’s not difficult to think the Big Two just became the Big Three. México played one of their most complete matches in recent memory, frustrating the 2020 Olympic Gold Medalists and earning their first victory against Canada since the 2017 University Games and their first full-strength, senior team win since the 2015 Pan American Games.

México started the match out on the front foot, being aggressive in the press and pushing Canada to adjust. Canada didn’t quite know how to react, but eventually adjusted and was able to get some traction. In the seventh minute Canada had the first chance of the game off of a corner kick, but the resulting header went well wide of its intended target. Canada then returned the favor by pressing, causing México to keep the ball in their end for several minutes. México had a decent opportunity in the 13th minute on a nice run down the left and cut back by Jackie Ovalle that resulted in a shot, but Kailen Sheridan was able to read it perfectly and barely had to move to make the stop.
México was able to break the trap in the 17th minute and Stephany Mayor was taken down in the box, resulting in a penalty. Mayor converted to give México an early lead and boost their confidence.

Canada was undeterred however, and continued to press México deep. México was able to get forward with some measure of regularity, and the sides were locked into a bit of a stalemate. In the 28th México broke through again and Ovalle ripped a shot that was well saved by Sheridan. A minute later Canada had a real chance with a run down the left by Nichelle Prince, but Prince ran out of room and the resulting pass was cleared out to safety. In the 35th, Kenti Robles had a nice run down the right and hit a cross into the area, but Sheridan read it well and easily snagged it. At the other end two minutes later, a cross from Prince made its way through the box, but no one was able to get to it and it was cleared out. The teams went into the locker rooms at the halftime break having played a fairly even match, with Mayor’s penalty the difference.

México looked like the better team in the early minutes of the second half, not really allowing Canada much and getting an attempt on goal in the 52nd minute that was sent high. México then had a counterattack a few minutes later but Kadeisha Buchanan was able to clear out the danger. México kept pressing, forcing Canada to play defensively instead of pushing forward for an equalizer. A defensive error in the box in the 74th almost proved costly for Canada, but they were able to somehow clear the ball before México could get a shot off. In the 75th, México was awarded a free kick in deep and while Sheridan made the initial save, Licha Cervantes was there and headed it in to double the lead for the hosts.

Canda came right back and in the 80th minute got a shot from Cloé Lacasse that forced Itzel González to make a save. Canada began to build up pressure, and in the 85th minute drew one back on a goal from Jordyn Huitema.

Then in the 87th minute Canada broke again and had a golden opportunity on a pass from the right flank by Deanne Rose, but thankfully for México the resulting shot by Lacasse went well high of the net. In stoppage time the play got a little chippy, with some CONCACAF showing through in the play. Canada had a chance deep in stoppage on a header, but Itzel González was able to smother the chance. Canada had shouts for a penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage but the referee ruled the contact wasn’t enough and play continued for just a few moments more before the final whistle sounded, giving México their first win against Canada since 2017 and their first full-strength senior team win since 2015. The teams will meet again on Tuesday at Estadio Azulgrana in CDMX.

México: Itzel González; Bianca Sierra, Cristina Ferral (Rebeca Bernal, 46’), Greta Espinoza, Kenti Robles (Yamile Franco, 46’); Jacqueline Ovalle, Alexia Delgado (Nancy Antonio, ‘), Diana García; Stephany Mayor (Anika Rodríguez, 46’), Alison González (Licha Cervantes, 46’), Myra Delgadillo (Nayeli Díaz, 46’)

Canada: Kailen Sheridan; Allysha Champan, Kadeisha Buchanan, Vanessa Gilles, Marie Levasseur (Cloé Lacasse, 61’); Julia Grosso (Sophie Schmidt, 78’), Desiree Scott (Quinn, 61’), Jessie Fleming; Nichelle Prince (Deanne Rose, 61’), Christine Sinclair (Jordyn Huitema, 46’), Victoria Pickett (Sura Yekka, 46’)

Scoring: México - Stephany Mayor (19’ - penalty), Licha Cervantes (76’), Canada - Jordyn Huitema (86’)

Disciplinary: México - None, Canada - Kadeisha Buchanan (Yellow - 45+1’), Allysha Chapman (Yellow - 90+3’)