Organizers are expecting a capacity crowd of about 27,000 in Vancouver for the women’s friendly Thursday between Canada and the United States at soccer-downsized BC Place. It’s the first of two matches for the longtime foes, who will meet again Sunday at San Jose’s Avaya Stadium.
ESPN2 will carry tonight’s game, starting at 10 p.m. ET. FS1 has Sunday’s coverage, beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
The last time the Americans visited BC Place, they won the 2015 Women’s World Cup by defeating Japan, 5-2.
From a competitive standpoint, United States vs. Canada is hardly a rivalry — the Americans have a 47-3-6 record — but both teams are among the best in the world — U.S. is ranked No. 1, Canada No. 5 — and almost every meeting is tight and fierce.
“This rivalry is massive,” Canadian star Christine Sinclair said. “I’ve met a lot of young girls who started to play after watching the [Olympic] semifinal [between the teams] in 2012. … For those of us who are fortunate to play in the NWSL, we’re teammates with U.S. players and we train together regularly, so we all know each other pretty well. But there is something different when you put on your Canadian shirt.”
The Americans have won six in a row since falling to Australia in the Tournament of Nations opener this summer. U.S. midfielder Tobin Heath will not play in either match against Canada because of an ankle injury that has not sufficiently healed since the NWSL championship game four weeks ago. Jill Ellis will not replace her on the roster, which has 22 players. Eighteen will be in uniform for each match.
>> While her U.S. teammates were in Canada preparing for the friendly, attacker Crystal Dunn was in London with Chelsea for a 3-0 victory over Swedish club Rosengard in the first leg of an UEFA Women’s Champions League round-of-16 meeting. She played 90 minutes. Ella Masar, an American who used to play for Chicago, Washington and Houston in the NWSL, went 90 on the backline for Rosengard, which will host the second leg next Wednesday.
>> American men abroad:
Defender Omar Gonzalez played 90 as Pachuca routed Tijuana, 4-0, in a Copa MX quarterfinal. Midfielder Alejandro Guido went 53 minutes for Xolos, and defender Michael Orozco entered in the 69th.
>> The Montreal Impact has hired Frenchman Remi Garde as the head coach, replacing Mauro Biello, who was fired at the end of the regular season. Garde, 51, managed Lyon for three years (2011-14) and Aston Villa for six months in 2015-16.
>> Atlanta United midfielder Julian Gressel (five goals, nine assists) was the runaway winner of the MLS rookie of the year award. Minnesota United forward Abu Danladi was second in the voting, followed by Philadelphia Union defender Jack Elliott, San Jose Earthquakes defender Nick Lima and D.C. United midfielder Ian Harkes.
>> Georgetown will host Xavier in the Big East men’s final at noon Sunday (FS2) at Shaw Field after winning at home Wednesday and watching the tournament favorite fall. The second-seeded Hoyas (13-3-2) defeated St. John’s, 2-1, while the fourth-seeded Musketeers (11-5-3) ousted top seed Butler on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw. In the regular season, Xavier defeated visiting Georgetown, 1-0, in extra time.
Georgetown went ahead after 70 seconds on a goal by sophomore forward Achara, a Nigerian who goes by one name. He was playing for the first time in a month after recovering from injury and now has seven goals in nine matches overall. Derek Dodson, the Big East rookie of the year, scored in the second half.
>> Virginia advanced to the ACC final for the first time in four years by defeating Notre Dame, 2-1, at Charlottesville’s Klockner Stadium. The sixth-seeded Cavaliers (12-3-4) will face top-seeded and top-ranked Wake Forest (17-1-1), which edged Clemson, 2-1. The final will be played at noon Sunday at MUSC Health Stadium on Daniel Island outside of Charleston, S.C. (ESPNU).