Injury bug creates chances for WNT Canada ahead of World Cup prep friendly

For the second consecutive international window, the injury bug has hit the Canadian women’s team quite hard as it continues to prepare for the 2023 FIFA World Cup.

Canada will face Argentina on October 6 and Morocco on October 10, with both matches taking place at the Estadio Municipal de Chapín in Jerez, Spain. But when Canada takes to the pitch for this friendly, they will be without the six members of the gold medal team from the Tokyo Olympics through injury: iconic captain Christine Sinclair, centre-back Vanessa Gilles, full-backs Ashley Lawrence, Jayde Riviere and Gabrielle Carle, and the forward. Deanne Rose.

Both Gilles and Lawrence missed Canada’s pair of wins over Australia in exhibition matches last month. But the defensive pair, as well as Sinclair and Carle, should be back in action soon. Other good news for the Canadian team is the return of injured veterans Kadeisha Buchanan and Allysha Chapman, who had been called up by coach Bev Priestman this month after missing against Australia.

However, the prognosis is not so promising for Rose (Achilles Proverb) and Riviere (hips), who are expected to be out for several months. Questions remain whether Rose will be able to recover in time for next summer’s World Cup, which will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

“I think it’s very difficult to say at this point. Knowing Deanne, her determination, athleticism and the support we will provide to ensure Deanne is part of that World Cup squad. I would like to think so,” the Pastor stated.

‘Next player’ mentality

But rather than bemoaning his players’ misfortune due to injury, Priestman prefers to take the lemons that have been given to him and make lemonade. He will use this month’s international window to provide playing time and opportunities to others who are not regular starters, all with the aim of strengthening the team’s overall depth heading into the World Cup.

“What I have to do is make sure that in whatever position there is an injury we get next [player] ready to go. What you’re going to see and feel is trying to understand what depth is with very little time into the World Cup.”

Priestman already started laying the groundwork last month against Australia. Midfielder Simi Awujo, 19, and striker Clarissa Larisey, 23, have impressed so much in their respective national team debuts that they were recalled this month, and should be given more chances against Argentina and Morocco.

Likewise, Jade Rose put on a fantastic performance in just her third appearance for Canada. The 19-year-old centre-back played with maturity far beyond his years, assisting Adriana Leon’s winner in a 2-1 win in Sydney, while also thwarting Australia’s Sam Kerr, who is considered one of the best strikers in the world. .

WATCH | Rose scores Leon’s second goal:

Adriana Leon scored all the goals as Canada swept through two friendlies in Australia

After scoring the lone goal in Canada’s 1-0 win over Australia in Brisbane on Saturday, Adriana Leon bagged two goals in Canada’s 2-1 win in Sydney on Tuesday.

Opportunity for Vienna

Maybe, velyne Viens who will step up this month. Viens, a 25-year-old Quebec native, earned his first cap last winter, and has scored twice in 10 games, and made a pair of appearances at the Olympics.

But he has been in and out of Canada’s roster since Tokyo. Viens were left out of the squad for the trip to Australia, as well as last summer’s CONCACAF Championship W in Mexico where Canada secured World Cup qualification.

Viens are in top form this season, scoring goals at a steady pace while on loan at Swedish side Kristianstads DFF, while also developing his playing skills. With Sinclair and Rose absent for the next two contests, Viens has the perfect opportunity to remind Priestman what he can do and make a case for himself.

“I’ve tried to work in different areas of my game. Working with the coach on my finishing, my touch, my creativity, my confidence, the mental side of the game, it’s been incredible.” Viens recently told Radio-Canada.

Priestman noticed how the Viens game developed in Sweden after a rather disappointing period in the NWSL with Sky Blue FC, which has since changed its name to NJ/NY Gotham FC.

“His confidence level since we came back from the Olympics and he didn’t play in the NWSL [was low]. But you can see he is [forward] scoring goals with confidence now,” said Priestman.

“So all the credit to velyne, he’s producing at club level, and my challenge for velyne has always been – can you do that in our environment in training and games? And I feel it on this European tour, with this level of opposition, it’s a great opportunity for Velyne to come back… So I’m really happy to have Velyne back because he’s worked really hard to achieve what he achieved.”

Canada is No. 7 in the current FIFA world rankings. Argentina is 31st and Morocco is 76th, and both countries have qualified for the 2023 FIFA World Cup.

Canada had won all five of their previous matches with Argentina, ahead of South America 12-1. Canada won 1-0 in their last meeting against Argentina on 21 February 2021 at the SheBelieves Cup in Orlando. Canada had met Morocco twice before, with both matches taking place in February 2001. Canada won the opening game 4-0 before losing the rematch 1-0 two days later.

The Canadian women’s team has a 10-2-3 record this year, with defeats against the USA in the Concacaf W Championship final and Spain in the Arnold Clark Cup in February.

Canada’s group stage opponents for next summer’s FIFA World Cup will be decided in the official draw on October 22 in Auckland.

Hadwin Floyd

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