The Canadian women’s national team under Bev Priestman? Pretty good, all things considered.
Canada lost a narrow 1-0 decision to arch-nemesis United States at the SheBelieves Cup in Florida on Thursday, the team’s first action in nearly a full year.
Rose Lavelle scored the game’s lone goal on a set-piece and resulting rebound in the 79th minute, which brought an anti-climatic end to Canada’s bid for a clean sheet.
Priestman’s side stood tall against the U.S. attack with a starting back line of Jayde Riviere, Vanessa Gilles, Shelina Zadorsky and Allysha Chapman looking confident under pressure. The attacking unit, meanwhile, had its moments. Clear-cut chances from Janine Beckie that went unconverted will leave the side hungry for goal going into their second game against Argentina on Sunday (6pm ET on OneSoccer).
Here’s a player-by-player rating – on a scale from one to ten – for Priestman’s first game in charge.
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Stephanie Labbé – 7
Replacing Kailen Sheridan in the first ten minutes due to injury, the 34-year-old goalkeeper took to the role well despite the pressure and unexpected call from the bench. A late first-half fumble, which nearly trickled in the net, was ultimately overshadowed by several acrobatic saves.
Jayde Riviere – 8
Handling the U.S. left-wing was never going to be easy, but Rivere fought tooth-and-nail to keep Megan Rapinoe off the scoresheet. Staunch first-half defending left the Americans with few breakthroughs.
Vanessa Gilles – 9
The Bordeaux defender wracked up the impressive clearances and sharp defensive moments despite being Canada’s least-experienced defender, as far as caps are concerned. A late desperation tackle on a streaking Alex Morgan was the cherry on the cake. No nonsense defending done very, very well.
Shelina Zadorsky – 7
Solid performance from Zadorsky who could take credit for how organized Canada’s backline was in the first half.
Allysha Chapman – 8
Veteran leadership from Canada’s stalwart right fullback. Rarely did the Americans flow through Canada’s left-hand side thanks to the 32-year-old’s front-footed defending. Unfortunate not to draw a penalty on a brilliant run-and-cross in the 72nd minute, if you recall.
Quinn – 7
Quinn formed a solid pivot with Scott in midfield as the more physically-imposing and direct of the pair. Good work going forward, too, with a tricky series of one-twos causing the American back line some problems. Brave work in the midfield before being subbed off in the 54th minute.
Desiree Scott – 6
Sporting the captain’s armband, Scott put in a solid shift in the heart of midfield. Sharp in the tackle, too, and pressed responsibly, though few bright spots jump to mind.
Jesse Fleming – 7
The Chelsea attacker’s ability to find space all over the pitch was made even more impressive in smothering the U.S. midfield. Lively in possession, Fleming’s sharpness showed as she was often pressed by three or four American players while on the ball.
Deanne Rose – 6
A nice cross in the 15th minute marked one of Rose’s several bright spots going forward. Showed good defensive work, as she shut down the wings well.
Nichelle Prince – 7
Dropping into space as a No. 9, Prince was as effective as you could ask, considering Canada’s midfield didn’t get the ball to her feet much. A spirited solo run early in the second half was a highlight before departing in the 71st minute.
Janine Beckie – 4
Good service and smart attacking play was greatly overshadowed by not one but two misses: A clear cut chance at the back post off a deflection and a patient golden attempt from 12 yards out.
Sophie Schmidt – 5
Making her 200th appearance for Canada off the bench, Schmidt arrived at a difficult time in the game. Still effective in a mostly defensive role.
Evelyne Viens – 7
Earning her first cap for Canada off the bench, the Paris FC striker had a couple bright spots linking up with new teammates well, if only briefly.
Gabrielle Carle – 6
Solid cameo for the right fullback, standing tall in the second half.
Adriana Leon – 6
Coming off the bench to left-wing, the West Ham attacker had a handful of bright spots including a cross that was a late near-miss at the near post.
Bev Priestman – 7
Quite a first senior match for the new coach. Well organized against the world’s best attacking unit. Tactically, the team produced objectively better scoring chances than the U.S., though they were fewer in number.