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The Week in Women's Football: Audax crowned South American club champions; World Cup qualifiers; USWNT and Canada friendly rosters;

This week we review the 2017 CONMEBOL Libertadores Cup Femenine Championship tournament held last month in Paraguay, discuss the UEFA World Cup Qualifying Groups as of the conclusion of the previous round of matches in October and present the rosters for the U.S. and Canadian National Teams ahead of their two friendly matches this week.

Audax of Brazil wins 2017 South American Club title.

In the ninth edition of the South American club tournament held in Paraguay, Audax (based in Orasco in Sao Paulo State) of Brazil defeated Colo Colo of Chile in the Libertadores Cup Femenine Final on penalties, after a 0-0 tie. Brazilian sides have now won seven of the nine continental events, with Sao Jose winning three, Santos two, with Ferroviaria and Audax one each. Sportive Limpeno of Paraguay won the title last year in Uruguay while Colo Colo won in 2012. River Plate of Argentina finished in third place last month after defeating Paraguayan side Cerro Porteno 2-1 in the match between the two sides who lost semifinal matches. Audax defeated Cerro Porteno 3-0 and Colo Colo bested River Plate 2-0 in those semis. Cerro Porteno advanced from Group B with the best second place record among the three groups. River Plate's third place finish equaled third place finishers by compatriots Boca Juniors in 2010 and UAI Urquiza in 2015. The tournament was held from October 7 -21. Paraguay as hosts had three teams competing while the other South American nations had one each.

The 2017 Teams by National Association:

AFA (Argentina) – River Plate

FBF (Bolivia) – Deportivo ITA

CBF (Brazil) – Audax

FFCH (Chile) – Colo Colo

FCF (Colombia) – Independiente Santa Fe

FEF (Ecuador) – Unión Española

APF (Paraguay) – Sportivo Limpeño

APF (Paraguay) – Cerro Porteño

APF (Paraguay) – Deportivo Capiatá

FPF (Peru) – Universitario de Deportes

AUF (Uruguay) – Colón FC

FVF (Venezuela) – Estudiantes de Guárico

The first round groups were as follows:

Group A

Deportivo Capiatá—Paraguay

Estudiantes de Guárico—Venezuela

River Plate—Argentina

Unión Española—Ecuador

Group B

Cerro Porteño—Paraguay

Colón FC—Uruguay

Colo Colo—Chile

Universitario de Deportes—Peru

Group C

Sportivo Limpeño—Paraguay


Independiente Santa Fe—Colombia

Deportivo ITA—Bolivia

Winners Audax included defender Dulce (35) and forward Adriana (34), who both grew up and play in Brazil at the club level but are internationally tied to Equatorial Guinea. Another import is 24 year old midfielder Agustina Barroso of Argentina. For River Plate, Carolina Birizamberri of Uruguay scored 6 goals, tops in the tournament with five other players. Trinidad and Tobago international forward Kennya Cordner played for Sportivo Limpeno of Paraguay and had three goals. "Yaya" Cordner has played in Sweden with Kvarnsvedens IK, in NWSL with Seattle Reign and in Australia with the Brisbane Roar.

European World Cup Qualifying Update by Group

After more matches in UEFA Qualifying from October 21 to 24, we have some definite trends shaping up ahead of another round of matches in November, before a winter break in qualifying matches.

In Group 1, Bosnia and Herzegovina defeated Kazakhstan 2-0 away on October 21 at home via goals by Germany-based forward Milena Nikolic (SC Sand) and an early winner in the second minute by Alma Kameric (Sarajevo). On October 24, Russia dropped a crucial two points at home in a scoreless deadlock with Wales. The results leaves Wales (4 points), Bosnia and Herzegovina (3 points) and England (3 points) all undefeated, while Russia (1 point) and Kazakhstan (0 points) have work to do after two games each.

In Group 2, Scotland won 5-0 at St. Mirren Park on October 24 and is tied at the top for the lead with Switzerland, each with 6 points. Belarus (3 points) and Poland (3 points) are tied behind the two leaders, but Belarus has played three games to Poland's two. Albania has no points from three games and will look to pull some points off of the other four sides in their remaining five matches.

In Group 3, the Netherlands beat Norway at home 1-0 on October 24 to stop Norway's two game winning streak in the WWC qualifiers, as Arsenal's Vivianne Miedema scored the winner in injury time. The same day, the Republic of Ireland won 2-0 away in Slovakia with a 11th minute goal from Denise O'Sullivan of the NWSL's North Carolina Courage and defender Jana Vojtekova's (Neulengbach of Austria) own goal in the 33rd minute. Norway has six points from three games but the Republic of Ireland has six points from two matches and looks well placed to make a strong run for first or second in the group and a chance to play in France in the Summer of 2019, which would be a first for the Irish at a major world/continental finals at the senior level. Netherlands has three points from one match and Northern Ireland and Slovakia are at the bottom with 0 pints from two games.

In Group 4, Sweden beat Hungary 5-0 on October 24 at home with former Manchester City forward Kosovare Asllani of Linkoping scoring a brace; the Swedes are tied for the lead with Denmark, who despite all the turmoil with their federation over contract terms and a postponement of an early pivotal away clash with the Swedes on October 20, kept pace after defeating Croatia 4-0, as Wolfsburg striker Pernille Harder scoring twice. In these early days, this group looks like a two team race to the end with Croatia (2 points from 4 matches), Hungary (1 point from 3 games) and Ukraine (1 point from 1 game) lying a distance behind.

In Group 5, after Iceland's surprising 3-2 win away over Germany the previous week, Czech Republic held Iceland to a 1-1 draw at home on October 24. Dagny Brynjarsdottir (Portland Thorns), who scored a brace in the Germany win, again scored in the 44th minute but a potential Iceland winner was cancelled out by Eva Bartonova of Slavia Prague in the 63rd minute. Germany blasted Faroe Islands at home 11-0, also on October 24, with Hasret Kayikci (SC Freiburg) scoring 4 goals in 26 minutes in the second half

Germany leads the group with 9 points from 4 matches, with the Czech Republic and Iceland tied on 7 points (but Iceland having played 3 games to the Czech's 4). Faroe Islands (0 points) and Slovenia (0 points) have too much of a gap to make up (Faroe Islands have played 3 games to Slovenia's 2) but both sides could play a role in breaking the deadlock towards the end among the top three.

In Group 6, Belgium won away over Portugal 1-0 with Tine De Caigny of Anderlecht scoring the winner just into the second half. Italy beat Romania 3-0 with Christiana Girelli (Brescia) scoring twice. Both matches were held on October 24. This is another group with a clear gap between the top two, with Belgium and Italy both on 9 points from 3 games, and the three chasers—Moldova, Portugal and Romania—have yet to record a point in two, one and three matches respectively. Portugal, who performed so well in their inaugural European Finals last summer, need to win at home on November 24 when they entertain Moldova or their World Cup hopes could be done and dusted before the end of the New Year.

In Group 7 on October 23, Spain beat Israel away 6-0 with captain Irene Paredes (Paris St. Germain) and Jennifer Hermoso (Paris St. Germain) each scoring braces. A day earlier, Finland defeated Serbia 1-0 at home as Serbian substitute Mirela Tenkov (Spartak Subotica) put the ball through her own net in the 79th minute. Spain, Finland and Austria all have 3 points from 1 match, while Serbia has 3 points from 3 games and Israel is pointless from two matches.

US/Canada Names Rosters for Games on November 9 and November 12

U.S. Women's National Team head coach Jill Ellis named 23 players for her training camp roster for the side's final two matches of 2017 as the USA faces Canada on Nov. 9 at BC Place in Vancouver, and on Nov. 12 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif.Ellis will have 18 players suit up for each match. Adrianna Franch, the 2017 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year, returns to the WNT roster after she helped the Portland Thorns win the league title. She most recently participated in a WNT training camp in January of this year. Ellis has recalled Portland Thorns defender Emily Sonnett, who is playing in Australia's W-League during the NWSL off-season with Sydney FC, scoring her side's loan goal in a losing effort last weekend. Sonnett has 12 caps for the USA. The NWSL Champions Portland has 5 players on the roster.

Ellis has given a first call-up to Chioma Ubogagu of the Orlando Pride. Ubogagu was a key member of the USA's 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup championship team and played in 2015 with Arsenal in the FA Super League before coming home to play for Houston Dash in 2016.

Forward Mallory Pugh, midfielder Rose Lavelle and midfielder Morgan Brian are all out with hamstring injuries. Forward Crystal Dunn was not released by Chelsea FC, with Champions League Round of 16 matches against FC Rosengård of Sweden looming this month.

U.S. Women's National Team Roster by Position (Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (4): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 21/0), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 2/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 14/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 11/0), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 3/0), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC; 102/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City; 133/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 17/0), Taylor Smith (NC Courage; 5/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 12/0), Chioma Ubogagu (Orlando Pride; 0/0)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 55/13), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 41/4), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash; 244/97), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC; 32/6), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 32/7), Andi Sullivan (Stanford; 5/0)

FORWARDS (5): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 132/18), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 132/78), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars; 94/44), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 127/34), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 13/4)

Canadian Head Coach John Herdman has gone with a young roster for the two game series, with six teenagers on the roster. Herdman said: "At this stage in the planning for 2019 it is a good time to provide a group of young players with the experience in preparing for and playing against the top ranked team in the world. We are underdogs as always going into a match against the USA, but when you have young hungry players, it brings a special quality." There is still experience on the side with two-time Olympic Bronze Medalists Christine Sinclair and Desiree Scott. Herdman continued: "With some of our core players unavailable for selection outside FIFA windows due to league play in Europe; it will also be an opportunity for some of the younger members of our core, like Rebecca Quinn, Janine Beckie, Jessie Fleming and Shelina Zadorsky, to step up and take greater leadership roles." Herdman's goal is to take Canada to its first FIFA number 1 rating in the world before the end of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.

The six teenagers on the roster are: Huitema, Riviere, Fleming, Rose, Grosso and Young; all six are members of Canada Soccer's EXCEL Program that brings together the best players at the national youth level. Operating across the U-14 to U-20 age groups, the program is designed to deliver an aligned talent structure and system that sends more top players to Canada's Women's National Team. Four players will dress for the first time for the national team: Riviere, Young, Grosso, and Kelly.

The roster totals 731 appearances for Canada: Sinclair (259), Scott (126), Fleming (45), Labbe (44), Chapman (44), Leon (41), Beckie (34), Zadorsky (31), Quinn (31), Prince (30), Rose (28), D'Angelo (5), Agnew (5), Sheridan (4), Huitema (4), Riviere (0), Young (0), Grosso (0), Kelly (0).

Players on the roster have collectively scored 216 goals: Sinclair (168), Beckie (18), Rose (7), Leon (6), Prince (6), Fleming (4), Quinn (3), Huitema (2), Chapman (1), Zadorsky (1).

Twelve players on the roster currently play in the NWSL (Sinclair, Scott, Beckie, Prince, Leon, Chapman, Zadorsky, Labbe, Sheridan, D'Angelo, Agnew and Kelly). Sinclair won her fourth U.S. pro league title last month with Portland, after a NWSL title in 2013 and WPS titles in 2010 with Gold Pride (San Francisco area) and Western New York Pride in 2011.

Three players are currently playing NCAA soccer (Rose, Fleming, and Quinn)

National team pool players currently playing in European leagues (notably goalkeeper Erin McLeod with Rosengard of Sweden and Sophie Schmidt of Frankfurt in Germany) were unavailable for selection outside of FIFA's designated international windows due to league play for their respective teams.

Canada Soccer Women's National Team Roster for USA Friendly Series

GK Stephanie Labbe, age 31, from Stony Plain, AB/ Washington Spirit (NWSL)
GK Sabrina D'Angelo, age 24, from Welland, ON/ North Carolina Courage (NWSL)
GK Kailen Sheridan, age 22, from Whitby, ON/ Sky Blue FC (NWSL)
FB Lindsay Agnew, age 22, from Kingston, ON/ Washington Spirit (NWSL)
FB Allysha Chapman, age 28, from Courtice, ON/ Boston Breakers (NWSL)
FB Jayde Riviere, age 16, from Markham, ON/ Markham Soccer Club (OPDL) & Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre (British Columbia)
CB Shelina Zadorsky, age 25, from London, ON/ Washington Spirit (NWSL)
CB Rebecca Quinn, age 22, from Toronto, ON/ Duke University (NCAA)
CB Ariel Young, age 16, from Ottawa, ON/ Ottawa Fury and Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre (Ontario)
M Jessie Fleming, age 19, from London, ON/UCLA (NCAA)
M Julia Grosso, age 17, from Vancouver, BC/ Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre (British Columbia)
M/FB Maegan Kelly, age 25, from Kansas City, MO & Toronto, ON/ FC Kansas City (NWSL)
M Desiree Scott, age 30, from Winnipeg, MB/ FC Kansas City (NWSL)
F Christine Sinclair, age 34, from Burnaby, BC/ Portland Thorns (NWSL)
F Janine Beckie, age 23, from Highlands Ranch, CO/ Houston Dash (NWSL)
F Deanne Rose, age 18, from Alliston, ON/ University of Florida Gators (NCAA)
F Adriana Leon, age 25, from King City, ON/ Boston Breakers (NWSL)
F Nichelle Prince, age 22, from Ajax, ON/ Houston Dash (NWSL)
F Jordyn Huitema, age 16, from Chilliwack, BC/ Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre (British Columbia)

Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribal Football. His latest book Beyond Bend it Like Beckham on the global game of women's football. Get your copy today.

Follow Tim on Twitter: @TimGrainey

Tim Grainey
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Tim Grainey

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