The U.S.-Mexico men’s soccer rivalry is no secret, given that the two squads play each other once or twice every year. That other North American rivalry — the U.S. against Canada — is almost strictly confined to women’s soccer. Starting this week, a new generation of the Canadian men’s national team aims to change that.
It’s been nearly 35 years since Canada last defeated the United States, and more than three years since the teams even played each other. Other than occasional Gold Cup matches, the U.S. generally only schedules Canada for midwinter friendlies, to help U.S.-based national-team players stay sharp in the offseason. Canada hasn’t reached the World Cup since 1986, nor even the final round of CONCACAF qualifying since 1997.
Now, though, the U.S. and Canada will meet twice in two months, with the first at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN2, as part of the Nations League tournament. Canada, stocked with young talent up front and speed on the wings, is led by 18-year-old Alphonso Davies, who’s making his way at Bayern Munich.
Defeating the United States would be huge for Canada. But merely becoming another North American rival for the U.S. would be an accomplishment for the Canucks as well.
• U.S. Soccer’s coaching search for the women’s national team is in full swing now that Jill Ellis has officially moved into a role as an ambassador. NWSL head coaches Laura Harvey of the Utah Royals and Vlatko Andonovski of Reign FC are the likely front-runners. Harvey won three championships at Arsenal and two NWSL regular-season titles with Seattle. Andonovski came from nowhere to win two NWSL championships with Kansas City and is widely respected across the league.
• Jean-Michel Aulas, the owner of French giant Lyon, said in a statement that he is negotiating to take over a club in the NWSL. Whether it’s an established club or one of the long-rumored expansion clubs isn’t clear. Lyon, by far the best women’s team in Europe, has won 13 consecutive French league titles and four consecutive Champions League titles. Aulas would expect to have the same sort of success in the NWSL.
Women’s Super League: Arsenal at Chelsea, 9 a.m. Sunday, thefa.com or the FA Player app (free registration required to watch). For the past five seasons, three teams have finished in the top three slots in the English women’s standings: Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City. Arsenal, last season’s champ, is flying to start the season, with three victories in three games. Chelsea is just two points behind.
Writer Jon Marthaler gives you a recap of recent events and previews the week ahead. E-mail: email@example.com