Morgan leads USA to win over Canada
Alex Morgan scored twice and Sydney Leroux added a goal to lead the United States over Canada 3-0 Sunday in their first meeting since the Americans' 4-3 overtime win in the semifinals of last year's Olympic women's soccer tournament.
''Having that pace up front, it's an unbelievable asset,'' U.S. coach Tom Sermanni said. ''At times in the game, I thought the Canadians defended very, very well for long parts of that game, but at some stage in that game, (the U.S. strikers) are going to break free. And Syd and Alex are very good finishers, so when they get those chances, they tend to score. The chances Alex got today, she made them look easier than they were. Those weren't easy chances, but they were terrific finishes.''
Morgan scored for the top-ranked Americans in the 70th minute when she cut inside defender Emily Zurrer and from the top of the penalty area slotted past goalkeeper Erin McLeod. Morgan scored from the same spot two minutes later, her 44th international goal.
Last August, Morgan's goal in the third and final minute of stoppage time in overtime sent the Americans to the gold-medal game, where the U.S. defeated Japan for its third straight gold medal. Sunday's lineups included 15 of 22 starters from the semifinal.
Leroux scored in the third minute of stoppage time on a breakaway. Born in Surrey, British Columbia, she moved to Scottsdale, Ariz., when she was a teenager and became an American citizen. She drew boos from the record crowd of 22,453 at BMO Field when she kissed the U.S. Soccer Federation badge on her jersey after she scored.
''From her perspective, of all the international goals she scored so far, this far is probably the sweetest one for her and that's probably a way to silence a crowd,'' Sermanni said. ''But in fairness, whether she is starting or coming off the bench for us this year, she is scoring goals. The luxury that I have at this moment is that I've got at least four world-class strikers that would walk into any other team in the world. So the challenge is trying to keep them all happy and give them playing time and hope that they keep scoring goals.''
The game, along with the men's 4-3 win over Germany at Washington's RFK Stadium, marked the USSF's 100th anniversary year.
U.S. forward Abby Wambach remained at 155 international goals, three behind Mia Hamm's record. Midfielder Carli Lloyd started in her first national team appearance since breaking a bone in her left shoulder against Iceland in the Americans' Algarve Cup opener on March 6.
No. 3 goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart played for the U.S. while Hope Solo recovers from left wrist surgery. No. 2 goalkeeper Jill Loyden, who broke a bone in her left hand during training on March 7, dressed but didn't play.
The United States prevented Canada from getting a shot on goal.
''I thought we defended very well today,'' Sermanni said. ''Canada is a difficult team to play against. They play quickly. They play a tempo that upsets you and at times doing very well catch teams on the break. I thought all of our defenders did very well today and limited Canada to not that many chances.''
Canada played its first home game since returning from London, where it beat France to win the bronze medal.