The year after the World Cup-Olympic cycle has at times been a down year in terms of U.S. WNT matches. That was not the case in 2017. The USA has faced seven of the other top nine teams in the world (only North Korea and the European champion Netherlands are absent from the list) and since September of 2015, the USA will have played half (eight countries) of the teams that competed in the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euros, including Holland.
In another installment of the regional rivalry on Nov. 9, the U.S. Women’s National Team played Canada to a 1-1 draw in front of a sellout crowd of 28,017 fans at BC Place. The game was, unsurprisingly, a highly competitive affair, with both teams pushing forward until each was able to create a goal. For U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis and players who had faced Canada before, the combination of a tough opponent plus a difficult environment provided a valuable experience for the team, especially for the large group of younger players who had never faced Canada at this level or played in in front of a large crowd on the road.
Lynn Williams faces Canada for the first time in her career on Nov. 9, 2017 in Vancouver.
“A lot of the players [on the U.S. roster] have played Canada before in the youth games, but to play at the senior level is a whole different experience and you always expect a very physical game,” Ellis said. “You got two very athletic teams and two big rivals. You’re going to have a lot of collisions and both teams expect that when you go into this level of competition between two top teams in the world. There’s going to be a physical component and I wouldn’t expect anything else from either team.”
“Both teams have a pretty young team and the goal for everyone is 2019, to learn and try new things and learn from our mistakes,” Ertz added following the game at BC Place. “That’s our biggest thing right now, going out there and finding what works for us.”
The USA now wants to finish 2017 in a strong fashion. The final game of the year will take place on Nov. 12 (6 p.m. PT; FS1) against Canada in front of an expected sellout crowd at Avaya Stadium in San Jose. The game will mark a homecoming of sorts for numerous U.S. WNT players with ties to the Bay Area.
Stanford's Andi Sullivan and Jane Campbell
Defender Kelley O'Hara, forward Christen Press, goalkeeper Jane Campbell and defender Chioma Ubogagu all attended Stanford, while midfielder Andi Sullivan is currently a senior there. Defender Abby Dahlkemper is from Menlo Park, forward Alex Morgan attended UC Berkeley across the Bay and defenders Ertz and Sofia Huerta attended Santa Clara University.
“I’m super excited to play in San Jose,” Ertz said. “I have a lot of people going and a lot of friends and family who will be there. It has a place in my heart, especially with soccer. I’m super excited to go back, and to learn from this game and play [Canada] again on Sunday.”