Canada’s women’s soccer team to host United States in friendly

Sportsnet's Irfaan Gaffar caught up with Canadian women’s soccer coach John Herdman to discuss the news of the friendly against the U.S. on home soil, and how the team's younger players have the mindset that they’re not really the underdogs.

VANCOUVER — Canada’s women’s soccer team will battle its American rivals in two games next fall.

The Canadians and Americans will clash on November 9 at Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium in the first of two friendlies between the North American foes. The second match is Nov. 12 in the U.S.

"There is always a friendly rivalry with the USA and it’s also hard to forget London 2012 — that memory sticks with you," Canada’s coach John Herdman said in a release. "But what this match offers us, at near the beginning of our four-year cycle, is a chance to get another true Tier 1 test with a young team.

"By the end of this year we will have played the Olympic gold and silver medallists and the world’s No. 1 team, so this match will really give us a good indication of where our gaps are, two and three years out from the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics."

Canada, No. 4 in the FIFA women’s rankings, lost to the top-ranked Americans in the semifinals of the London Olympics, an epic battle and one of the most memorable moments from those Games.

Canada hasn’t beaten the United States since 2001, although Herdman’s first game with Canada was a 1-1 draw against the U.S. in 2011. The past two games saw a 1-1 draw in Winnipeg, and a 2-0 loss in the final of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifyier in 2016.

Canada went on to capture bronze at last summer’s Rio Olympics, while the Americans were ousted in the quarter-finals.

"It’s a good opportunity for this new generation, including (Jessie) Fleming, (Ashley) Lawrence, (Kadeisha) Buchanan and young (Jordyn) Huitema, who have not experienced the USA too often in their international careers, to go out with a fresh perspective and positive mindset," Herdman said. "We are only three spots back from them, with three close matches in our recent history, and these players have been accustomed to accustomed to success."

Canada’s captain Christine Sinclair said reaching the No. 1 world ranking is a goal within Canada’s grasp.

"When I was a rookie it would have been hard for me to say at 16-years-old that we want Canada to be No. 1, because that was not realistic, but that’s what we are driving towards now and it’s completely realistic," she said.

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