U.S. WNT vs. Canada: Familiar Foes Highlight North American Strength

Though it’s true that the U.S. Women’s National Team has built powerful rivalries and has a long-standing history with countries such as Japan, China PR, Sweden, Germany, Brazil, France and Norway, few produce the intensity seen in a USA-Canada match. While every international match is important, USA vs. Canada brings with it a few factors that make this one of the most interesting matchups in women’s soccer. There’s the proximity between countries, the familiarity between players, many of whom are or have been club teammates, the shared language (not the French part), and the honor of always reaching for the title of best in CONCACAF.

Canada is currently ranked fifth in the world and most recently won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games (to go along with its bronze from 2012). Canada has steadily been climbing up the rankings, while the USA, a three-time World Cup Champion and four-time Olympic Gold medalist sits atop the FIFA rankings.

While the USA has only lost to Canada on three occasions (1986, 2000 and 2001), Canada has come very close a couple of times since – most notably during the 2012 Olympics – but the USA has found ways to triumph, sometimes in dramatic fashion.

The U.S. WNT and Canada have played each other 56 times, tying for the most common opponent in U.S. history along with China PR. The two teams have played each other often and in all types of the international games. There’s been USA vs. Canada in friendlies, in World Cup and Olympic Qualifying, and in Olympic Games and World Cups. Overall, the USA and Canada have played each other nine times in official competitions. The U.S. has gone 9-0-0 in these, outscoring Canada 27-6, but it’s the last five years that have brought some of the best games in the series for these two sides.

Of course, the most memorable match came during the semifinal of the 2012 Olympics when Alex Morgan scored the game-winning goal in the 123rd minute to earn a 4-3 U.S. win in what still stands as the latest goal scored in FIFA history. Canada superstar Christine Sinclair played one of the greatest matches in women’s soccer history that day, scoring all three goals for her country.

Alex Morgan scored the game-winning goal vs. Canada in the 123rd minute at the 2012 Olympics, the latest goal scored in FIFA history.

The teams played two friendlies in 2014, the first on Jan. 31, a 1-0 USA win, and again on May 8 in Winnipeg – about a year before the 2015 Women’s World Cup – in a game that resulted in a 1-1 draw. The most recent meeting came on Feb. 21, in the title game of the 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship.

The USA won the game 2-0 and claimed the regional title with goals from Tobin Heath and Lindsey Horan, both players with the Portland Thorns, where they are captained by Sinclair, Canada’s all-time leading scorer and the second-leading scorer in world history behind U.S. legend Abby Wambach.

The U.S. now heads to Vancouver to play the first of a two-game home-and-away series against Canada in November. The first match will be played on November 9 at BC Place and will kick-off at 7 p.m. PT and be broadcast on ESPN2 and UDN. The teams will then travel to the USA and meet again on November 12 (6 p.m. PT; FS1) at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California.  The match in Vancouver marks the USA’s return to BC Place for the first time since winning the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup there on July 5, 2015. The historic 5-2 victory against Japan featured Carli Lloyd’s famous hat trick and her legendary long-range goal.