The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team made short work its Canadian rivals Sunday in Toronto, winning 3-0 in the first rematch between the bordering nations since the historic semifinal that highlighted last summer’s Olympics tournament.
And Alex Morgan, who headed in the extra-time winner in last year’s controversial match, was once again the hero. She scored twice during a two minute span in the second half – and from roughly the same spot on the field – on a day when the Canadian team failed to even get a shot on goal.
“The two passes I ran onto were quite similar,” Morgan told the AP. “The second one was a little hard of an angle, but they were just great balls. That’s bread and butter for me. That’s what I love do to… to score with my left foot from that side of the box and I got played in both times.”
The sellout crowd booed the Americans all day, especially the Canadian born Sydney Leroux, who became a U.S. citizen in high school and scored the third goal of the day for the U.S. team.
“This one is up there, especially because of everything’s that happened and because of all the boos,” Leroux said, comparing her Sunday goal to scoring in the Games. “But I think it’s so good for women’s soccer. I don’t care if I am not the fan favorite, it’s so great to have a sold-out crowd like that.”
The crowd also made a point of counting in unison each time American goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart took a goal kick, a call back to last year’s controversy when the U.S. was awarded a controversial free kick after Canadian keeper Erin McLeod didn’t get the ball back into play within six seconds.
Abby Wambach scored on the ensuing kick to tie the game 3-3 and force extra-time in London. The U.S. eventually won the game on Morgan’s header, and then took gold against Japan a couple days later.
“I’m proud that this is a rivalry. Not too long ago it wasn’t,” Wambach said. “Not too long ago these games weren’t games we looked forward to, and now they are. Now they’re getting sold-out crowds, and I think that does nothing but push the women’s game forward.”