Good Monday morning Caps fans. All quiet on the western front here, as MLS is slated to begin a hiatus to make way for the Gold Cup after a token slate of games this weekend. This means the Caps (and the league) will be off for almost two more weeks.
In the meantime, there’s plenty to discuss. Canada will begin their Gold Cup play Saturday against Cuba in what might be the most ballyhooed team they have ever put out. The U.S. will follow suit a week from Tuesday against Guyana, although a pair of disastrous friendly performances have me fearing the worst about what may unfold.
And then there is the World Cup in France, which got off the mark last Friday with the host nation pounding South Korea 4-0. Since then, we’ve had one of the favorites squeak out a win (Germany), a favorite which did not (Australia, who fell to upstart Italy 2-1) and a couple underdogs who fell just short of pulling off a stunner (South Africa and Jamaica).
Canada will begin their campaign today at 3 pm ET/12 pm PT (in case you want something to watch in the office) against Cameroon. They will be looking to advance out of Group E, which is rounded out by a top notch Netherlands side and plucky New Zealand, both of whom will begin their group play tomorrow.
The Reds are led, of course, by the indefatigable Christine Sinclair, still a dominant force even at age 35. She is three goals shy of matching Abby Wambach’s record of 184 goals in international competition, men’s or women’s.
Sinclair is just the tip of the iceberg in what might be the deepest Canadian side ever. Jessie Flemming, who somewhat unbelievably is an engineering student at UCLA, is one of the most fun midfielders to watch in the competition. She has had 22 goals and 18 assists through three college seasons for the Bruins and has fittingly been a Hermann Trophy finalist.
There’s defender Kadeisha Buchannon, who plies her trade for Lyon, perhaps the most dominant club team in all of football. The Toronto-native won the Young Player Award at the 2015 World Cup and remains one of the top defenders in women’s football, despite a rocky club season in France. She’ll be as critical as ever for the Canadians.
And then there’s 20-year-old Deanne Rose, who helped lead Canada to the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics, becoming the youngest goalscorer in women’s Olympic history in the process. She will be called upon in midfield in this tournament as part of the third youngest team in the field.
Coming in ranked fifth in the world, Canada can credibly be called one of the favorites, although they will need someone to step up to lead the way alongside Sinclair if they will want to put together a deep run. Regardless, it is a time when fans of both the men’s and women’s national teams can be feeling optimistic about their fortunes (I wonder what that must feel like...).
There is no shortage of SB Nation related content to get you hyped for the tournament here. In the meantime, here are some other links to get you through your Monday coffee:
Shameless Self Promotion
A bit of a dry week here, but there was a Vancouver Whitecaps side in action ... the U23s, that is. The developmental side traveled to South Korea to take on Daejeon Citizen as part of the friendly agreed to in the In-Beom Hwang deal. Caleb Wilkins breaks down how the youngsters fared in what was a big test in their development.
Best of the Rest
As alluded to above, the USMNT got thrashed 3-0 be Venezuela in their last tune up before the Gold Cup. Gregg Berhalter is sticking to his guns and I am scared for what Trinidad and Tobago may do to us this time around
Only four matches in MLS this past week and undoubtedly the best viewing was to be found in Philadelphia. The Union were trailing 2-0 in the second half when Ilsinho came on and two goals an assist later, the Eastern Conference leaders walked away with all three points
As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasions, Washington Post’s Steven Goff has a cool, soccer-related story related to the historic day
The Toronto Raptors are on the verge of a historic victory and, on behalf of all American sports fans I just want to say: THANK YOU DEAR GOD
You’ll hear more from me in the middle of the week breaking down our right back situation but, in the meantime, have a lovely week