Sydney Leroux helps U.S. tie Canada
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Sydney Leroux scored in the 78th minute to help the U.S. women's soccer team tie Canada 1-1 on Thursday night, extending the Americans' unbeaten streak against the Canadians to 30 games.
Leroux kicked Canadian Rebecca Quinn's errant crossing header under goalkeeper Erin McLeod in front of 28,255 fans at Investors Group Field, one of six venues for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.
"It was great for Canada soccer, it's great for women's soccer and we were excited to play in front of a crowd like this," Leroux said. "It was very physical, and I don't think we played very well in the first half, but I think we came together in the second half and started playing our soccer. At halftime we said, `We are not going to make it easy for Canada to beat us, ever.' We knew we had a lot of time left."
Leroux leads the U.S. with six goals this year and has 30 overall for the national team, 20-0-5 against Canada since a loss in the 2001 Algarve Cup. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Leroux has scored in three straight games against Canada.
"When you play Canada, it's 50 percent preparation, organization and structure and 50 percent emotion," U.S. interim coach Jill Ellis said.
"I challenged them at halftime and said that we needed to be more of the aggressor and we definitely put some pressure on them. The other thing we talked about was composing ourselves. It was a big crowd, big atmosphere and the adrenaline was pumping and we actually needed to calm ourselves a bit and connect some passes."
Kadeisha Buchanan scored for Canada in the 35th minute. The 18-year-old Buchanan fought off U.S. forward Abby Wambach and defender Ali Krieger, heading the ball into the ground toward the left side of the frame for her first international goal.
"The future is bright," Canadian teammate Desiree Scott said. "Kadeisha Buchanan, 18 years old, going toe-to-toe with some of the best strikers in the world and she scores a goal tonight. Unbelievable performance."
Buchanan played physically against Wambach and the other U.S. forwards.
"Defense wins games and we tried," said Buchanan, from Toronto. "That's part of my element."
The U.S. is 6-2-2 this year. It has a 47-3-6 overall record against Canada in the series that started in 1986. ... Midfielder Lauren Holiday became the 30th U.S. player to earn 100 career caps. Holiday made her debut in 2007. ... Leroux tied Brandi Chastain for 16th place on the U.S. goals lost. ... The Americans will return to action against France on Saturday, June 14, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.