Cana­dian women’s soc­cer coach sees pos­i­tives in Asian trips

The Peterborough Examiner - - SPORTS - NEIL DAVID­SON

Two trips to Asia pro­duced 4-0 de­feats for the Cana­dian women’s soc­cer team, against Ja­pan and Brazil.

But both times, the sev­en­thranked Cana­di­ans re­sponded the next time out — ty­ing Ja­pan 0-0 in a closed-door game and blank­ing New Zealand 3-0.

“Even though I will never be com­fort­able ... los­ing 4-0, like never. No mat­ter who we put on the pitch, that shouldn’t be hap­pen­ing,” Canada’s coach, Ken­neth Heiner-Moller, said from his na­tive Den­mark.

“But I saw some of the play­ers I hadn’t seen in a while on the pitch play­ing for Canada. That was a great learn­ing and in­sight into who is where, who is ready, who needs some more time.

“And both the match against Brazil and the match against New Zealand gave me some very in­ter­est­ing an­swers.”

Still, the 4-0 losses marked the most goals con­ceded by the Cana­dian women since the in­fa­mous 4-3 ex­tra-time de­feat to the U.S. in the 2012 Olympic semi­fi­nal — a stretch of more than 100 matches.

Heiner-Moller fielded a more experiment­al lineup against Brazil in Canada’s opener Nov. 7 at the China Four Na­tions Tour­na­ment in Yongchuan. Goal­keeper Sab­rina D’An­gelo, Lind­say Agnew, Shan­non Woeller, Gabrielle Carle and Adri­ana Leon got their first starts of the year, with Deanne Rose given her sec­ond start.

Olivia Smith came off the bench, be­com­ing Canada’s youngest women’s se­nior player at 15 years, three months.

Mae­gan Kelly made her first ap- pear­ances of the year, while Ni- chelle Prince re­turned to ac­tion from in­jury.

Heiner-Moller liked what he saw in Smith, who came off the bench in the 83rd and 86th min­utes, re­spec­tively, in China.

“She can do so much al­ready ... She can al­ready per­form at a level that’s be­yond what you could think a kid her age could ac­tu­ally do. So it’s about tak­ing very very good care of her, but also push­ing her. In the world of sports, you can find so many very very good play­ers at the age of 14, 15 that didn’t make it be­cause ei­ther they took it too lightly or had bad ad­vice or what­ever,” Heiner-Moller said.

“But I can tell you she wasn’t given any in­ter­na­tion­als. In this camp she earned both of them. And if you can earn them by the time you’re 15, you’ve got, hope­fully, a pretty good fu­ture ahead of you.”

In the win over New Zealand, cap­tain Chris­tine Sin­clair scored ca­reer goal No. 183, head­ing in an Ash­ley Lawrence cross after a pretty pass­ing se­quence.

Sin­clair is now one goal from ty­ing re­tired Amer­i­can Abby Wam­bach’s world record.

Heiner-Moller will be in Eng­land on Sun­day to watch Ja­nine Beckie and Manch­ester City host Leon and West Ham United in Bar­clays FA Women’s Su­per League play.

On Satur­day, he will mon­i­tor Kadeisha Buchanan and Lyon against Lawrence and Jor­dyn Huitema of Paris Saint-Ger­main in French league play.

“A clash of the Cana­di­ans around the world,” said Heiner Moller.

Canada’s next chal­lenge is the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment, which runs Jan. 28 to Feb. 9 in Texas and Cal­i­for­nia.


Coach Ken­neth Heiner-Moller found pos­i­tives at a women's soc­cer tour­na­ment in China, see­ing his Cana­dian team re­spond with a 3-0 win over New Zealand after a 4-0 loss to Brazil.

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