MEXICO CITY – A spirited comeback attempt failed as the Canadian women’s soccer team saw its five-game winning streak end in a 2-1 loss to Mexico on Saturday.
Second-half substitute Jordyn Huitema scored in the 86th minute to bring the Olympic champions to life, but Mexico held on and had several excellent Canadian chances to beat Canada for just the second time.
“I thought in the first half you could see that we had tried a new system and new faces,” said Canada head coach Bev Priestman. “It was awkward, but I loved our response in the second half. It is the Canada that I know that will lead him to the opposition.
Mexico opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 19th minute when forward Stephany Mayor calmly kicked the ball to the right of the Canadian goal as goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan dove in the other direction.
The penalty was awarded after Canadian defender Vanessa Gilles mingled with Mexican Diana Garcia and Garcia fell in the penalty area.
Mexico made it 2-0 in the 76th minute when a free kick bounced off the crossbar to the right of unmarked forward Alicia Cervantes, who directed the ball past a prone Sheridan.
Huitema reduced Mexico’s lead to 2-1 with a clinical finish inside the box in the 86th minute.
“Everyone who came in the second half was just trying to bring energy and fluidity into the game,” Huitema said. “I think we were on top of them for a good part of the second half. “
Canada had a glorious equalizer opportunity in the 88th minute, but Cloé Lacasse’s shot on a pretty Deanne Rose cross went over the bar.
Canada came close again in stoppage time, but Sophie Schmidt’s point blank shot was stopped by Mexican goalkeeper Itzel González.
Lacasse was knocked down in the penalty area in the sixth minute of added time, but the referee stirred the game.
“The calls didn’t go our way, there were bad decisions,” Priestman said. “But at the same time, we have to take ownership of a game where decisions made on the left or on the right don’t impact the game because we’ve been so dominant.”
Saturday’s game was played behind closed doors at a high-level training center. Canada, sixth in the standings, and Mexico, 28th, will meet again on Tuesday at the Estadio Azulgrana.
Canada ended their 12-game unbeaten streak (8-0-4, including two penalty shootout wins at the Olympics) dating back to a 2-0 loss to Brazil on February 24 at the SheBelieves Cup in Orlando.
Canada is 9-3-4 this year, with the other loss also coming at the Orlando tournament – a 1-0 loss to the top-ranked United States, which was later avenged at the Games Tokyo Olympics.
Canada had won five in a row against Mexico and was undefeated in its last 14 games (12-0-2). Her overall record against Mexican women is 22-2-2.
Saturday’s loss was not as costly as Canada’s other loss to Mexico. A 2-1 loss in March 2004 in a CONCACAF semi-final in San José, Costa Rica, deprived Canada of a berth at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
It was Canada’s third game since its Olympic triumph in Tokyo. Canada beat No.23 New Zealand twice last month – 5-1 in Ottawa and 1-0 in Montreal – to kick off what has been dubbed a “Celebration Tour”.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 27, 2021.
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