Tensions will be high when the United States women’s national team welcome neighbors Canada to the SheBelieves Cup on Thursday for their first fixture of the 2021 tournament.
Canada make their SheBelieves debut in the sixth edition of the competition, which will be the first of its kind to stage all six matchups at the same venue: Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
What TV Channel is USA-Canada on?
The latest edition of the SheBelieves Cup gets underway with a border rivalry between the United States and Canada, airing on FOX Sports 1 and TUDN from 7 p.m. ET on Thursday. You can live stream international soccer on fuboTV.
How to Watch United States vs. Canada
When: Thursday, February 18
Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Florida
Time: 7 p.m. ET
TV: FOX Sports 1, TUDN
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)
The Stars and Stripes—three-time winners of this contest and the defending champions—have never lost to their local rivals in 24 meetings (22 wins, two draws), though Canada have made the fixture more competitive in recent years.
Lynn Williams, Lindsey Horan and Megan Rapinoe provided the finishes when the USWNT won 3-0 in the final of CONCACAF Olympics qualifying in February 2020, but they were made to wait an hour before finding that breakthrough:
Bev Priestman will lead Canada for the first time since she was appointed coach in October, with the 34-year-old hoping to make a big impact in her first senior managerial role. The England native couldn’t hope for a greater challenge than taking on the world’s top-ranked team in her own debut, particularly with Canada lacking a number of their more prominent stars.
United States coach Vlatko Andonovski may look to blood some young talent in their tournament curtain-raiser, but his is still largely a squad of veterans. Sam Mewis, Tobin Heath and Ali Krieger are among the biggest absences due to injury, but only four of the USA’s 20 outfielders have fewer than 30 caps to their name already.
The host nation’s schedule could also be considered fortunate as they prepare to face Canada and Brazil—ranked joint-eighth in the world—before concluding their tournament against No. 31 Argentina:
It’s a big blow for Canada that their captain, as well as most capped player and all-time leading scorer, Christine Sinclair (186 goals in 296 games), has been ruled out due to injury.
Other notable injuries for the tournament include Diana Matheson, Erin McLeod and Bianca St. Georges. Moreover, John Molinaro confirmed Kadeisha Buchanan (who plays for Lyon), Jordyn Huitema and Ashley Lawrence (both Paris Saint-Germain) have been retained by their French clubs, as is within their rights:
Priestman boasts valuable insight of the new prospects emerging in her squad having previously coached Canada’s under-17s (2013-16) and under-20s (2017-18). The pressure will be off for the SheBelieves newcomers in comparison to their host rivals, though there are still expectations for a roster housing plenty of talent based in the the top tiers of American soccer, as well as England and France.
Teammates and club rivals will come into close contact in this border dispute, where Canada hope to overcome the odds and dent the the United States’ title defense early with a maiden win.