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The Week In Women’s Football: Canada performs in Algarve Cup; US squad for Russia named; trouble in T&T…

This week we review some news within CONCACAF, including summing up Canada's performance at the 2017 Algarve Cup, the U.S. roster for the home friendlies with Russia in early April and some player unrest in Trinidad & Tobago as they entertain Venezuela in two friendlies.

Canada Finishes Second to Spain in the 2017 Algarve Cup, earlier this month

Canadian Women's National Team Coach John Herdman—who took Canada to Olympic Bronze Medals at the last two Olympic Games in London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016—led the Maple Leafs to second in the 2017 Algarve Cup in Portugal, losing to Spain 1-0 in the Final last month; the first meeting ever between the two national sides.

Lelia Ouahabi, who plays in defense for Barcelona, scored in the 5th minute and the Spaniards held off the Maple Leafs the rest of the way. Canada just fell short of defending its Algarve Cup title that they won in 2016. Canada had not participated in the Algarve Cup since 2003 before last year, when then coach Even Pellerud withdrew his side from the 2004 edition on short notice after their surprising defeat in Costa Rica to Mexico 1-0 in the decider for a 2004 Olympic Games spot. Canada played in the Cyprus Cup for years, which at the time was seen as a second tier event, which probably is no longer the case currently since England, France, Germany and the U.S. have begun passing the Algarve Cup events to play in the SheBelieves invitational tournament in the States, which was launched in the Spring of 2016.

Canada reached the Algarve Cup final by winning Group A with 7 points—one point ahead of hosts Portugal—by overcoming Denmark 1-0 on a late Christine Sinclair goal, defeating Russia 2-0 on tallies by Sophie Schmidt and Christine Sinclair within the first 30 minutes and then holding Portugal scoreless (0-0). Spain overcame Japan (2-1) and Norway (3-0) before tying Iceland (0-0) to finish Group B with 7 points, one ahead of Japan. In Group 3, Australia, won the group with 6 points after opening the tournament with a loss to Sweden (0-1) but then defeating the Netherlands 3-2 with two goals by Emily Gielnik (Brisbane Roar and a one-time Liverpool player) and one by Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride/Sydney FC) and then China 2-1, with another goal by Gielnek and one by Ellie Carpenter (Western Sydney Wanderers), her first ever goal for the full national team. Australia—finishing third in points to Canada and Spain—met Denmark in the third place game but lost 4-1 on penalties after a 1-1 tie. Australia's goal came from Kyah Simon (Sky Blue FC/Perth Glory).

Canada will next play Costa Rica on June 8th in Winnipeg and then on June 11th in Toronto. It will be the first time the two CONCACAF powers have met since Canada defeated Costa Rica in February 2016 at the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament to earn a spot in Rio.

Ten of the Canadian side that went to Portugal are with NWSL sides—including 2017 college draft picks—while 3 play abroad (2 in Germany and 1 in France), 3 are in U.S. colleges and 6 are youngsters with Canadian club sides (see below).

Canada Soccer Women's National Team Algarve Cup Roster (in alphabetical order):

Lindsay Agnew, age 21, from Kingston, ON/ Washington Spirit (NWSL)

Janine Beckie, age 22, from Highlands Ranch, CO/ Houston Dash (NWSL)

Kadeisha Buchanan, age 21, from Brampton, ON/ FCF Olympique Lyonnais

Gabrielle Carle, age 18, from Lévis, QC/ CS Lévis-Est & Québec Soccer REX

Allysha Chapman, age 28, from Courtice, ON/ Boston Breakers (NWSL)

Sabrina D'Angelo, age 23, from Welland, ON/ North Carolina Courage (NWSL)

Jessie Fleming, age 18, from London, ON/ UCLA (NCAA)

Jordyn Huitema, age 15, from Chilliwack, BC/ Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite BC Soccer REX

Stephanie Labbé, age 30, from Edmonton, AB/ Washington Spirit (NWSL)

Alex Lamontagne, age 20, from Whitby, ON/ Durham United FC (League1 Ontario)

Ashley Lawrence, age 21, from Caledon, ON/ Paris St-Germain FC

Marie Levasseur, age 19, from Stoneham, QC/ University of Memphis (NCAA)

Nichelle Prince, age 21, from Ajax, ON/ Houston Dash (NWSL)

Deanne Rose, age 17, from Alliston, ON/ Scarborough GS United

Rebecca Quinn, age 21, from Toronto, ON/ Duke University (NCAA)

Sophie Schmidt, age 28, from Abbottsford, BC/ FFC Frankfurt (Bundesliga)

Desiree Scott, age 29, from Winnipeg, MB/ FC Kansas City (NWSL)

Kailen Sheridan, age 21, from Whitby, ON/ Sky Blue FC (NWSL)

Christine Sinclair, age 33, from Burnaby, BC/ Portland Thorns FC (NWSL)

Sarah Stratigakis, age 17, from Woodbridge, ON/ Aurora United FC (League1 Ontario)

Hannah Taylor, age 17, from Edmonds, WA/ Eastside FC

Shelina Zadorsky, age 23, from London, ON/ Washington Spirit (NWSL)

Jill Ellis names 24 players for friendly matches next month from Russia

U.S. Women's National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named a 24-player training camp roster for two matches against Russia; April 6 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas and April 9 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

Ellis will choose 18 players for each game. These will be the final U.S. WNT matches before the National Women's Soccer League kicks off its fifth season on April 15.

Nineteen of the players selected were on the roster for the 2017 SheBelieves Cup in March. Ellis has recalled midfielder Megan Rapinoe (117 caps/31 goals) and has given a first call-up to new Boston Breakers defender Megan Oyster, who made the NWSL final last season with the Washington Spirit. 2015 World Cup winning forward Amy Rodriguez (129/30) and defender Meghan Klingenberg (70/3), who both attended the USA's training camp before the SheBelieves Cup but did not make the final roster, were also selected, as was Houston Dash forward Kealia Ohai—who was first capped after a stellar 2016 NWSL season.

Six players on the roster have played 122 times or more for the Americans while twelve have 33 or less caps. All are based with NWSL sides except Crystal Dunn (Chelsea) and NWSL loanees Carli Lloyd (Manchester City) and Alex Morgan (Olympique Lyon).

Russia, which is set to compete in the 2017 UEFA Women's Euro this summer in the Netherlands, was drawn into Group B with Germany, Italy and Sweden. Russia finished UEFA qualifying in second behind Germany in Group 5.

U.S. Women's National Team Roster by Position - Texas Friendlies

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS (6): Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Megan Oyster (Boston Breakers), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Boston Breakers), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash/Manchester City), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign)

FORWARDS (7): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride/Olympique Lyonnais, FRA), Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (UCLA), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Lynn Williams (NC Courage)

Note: Julie Johnston was not available for these matches due to her wedding and honeymoon. When she returns to the U.S. WNT, she will be wearing her married named - Ertz - on the back of her jersey.

Player Trouble in Paradise - Three T&T veterans are out for Morace

The Trinidad & Tobago Women's National Senior Team has been in preparations for Caribbean Football Union World Cup qualifying this summer, dealing not just with getting to know a new coach but considerable player turmoil as well.

Three players are out of former Italian and Canadian head coach Carolina Morace's team: former captain Maylee Attin-Johnson and veteran forward Kennya “Yaya" Cordner were both suspended last weekend. Reportedly, Morace said that Attin-Johnson and Cordner “disrespected" her—a charge that both players have denied. In addition, Ahkeela Mollon had excused herself from national team call-ups, again reportedly over Morace's less than ingratiating attitude towards players, something which has dogged Morace in past assignments, as she can never be accused as being Ms. Congeniality. Morace was a world class player for Italy, scoring 105 goals in 157 appearances but some former Canadian players said that her training camps “felt like prison."

Former forward and ex-UCLA star Kara Lang once said that Morace: “Didn't understand the culture [in Canada] and she tried to force her own culture on the team." That may be happening again in the southern Caribbean.

The three Trinidad players on the outs are key for the side; forward Mollon played professionally in Sweden for 4 years, Attin-Johnson was captain in midfield during the last World Cup qualifying campaign while Cordner has played professionally with Seattle Reign of the NWSL and for Brisbane Roar in Australia and was the Trinidad and Tobago national player of the year on three occasions. All three will not receive T&T national team player contracts for 2017—at least at the present time—which the federation is doing so that Morace can keep the team together for training throughout the year, totalling about TT$8,800 for top tier players—about US$1,300 a month—equivalent to what a non-starter in NWSL can earn. On Monday, March 27, the first eight players who will receive contracts were announced: captain and attacker Tasha St Louis, forward Mariah Shade, playmaker Dernelle Mascall, defenders Patrice Superville, Annalis Cummings, Anastasia Prescott and Ayana Russell and forward Natasha St Louis, who is the younger sister of the team captain. Tasha St. Louis has played abroad in Sweden and with FC Indiana in the United States. National team members who are based abroad as well as those still in school will not receive monthly stipends, but are expected to receive match fees and bonuses for camps/games.

Though the choice of Morace as head coach late last year was controversial because of the difficulty that some people have had in communicating with her in her past coaching stops, her hiring was a positive statement by the Trini Football Federation—as well as the monthly stipends—after having to beg other teams for funds during its 2015 WWC Qualifying campaign and using part-time volunteer and Houston Dash head coach Randy Waldrum through WWC qualifying, a situation that was never going to work as his loyalties were split between club and country and ultimately both sides were unhappy. One hopes that Morace can bring these three talented veterans into the fold because quite honestly, this reporter believes she cannot win without them. Morace also does not need the turmoil and if it continues, T&T could find themselves missing a place in next year's CONCACAF World Cup finals, after coming so close for Canada 2015.

Venezuela was visiting Trinidad and Tobago for friendly matches and the first competitive game under Morace was a scoreless draw on March 26, which one local media professional labelled as “uninspiring." Venezuela brought a completely local club-based side, while T&T had North American based veterans such as Arin King and Lauryn Hutchinson. The two sides play again on Wednesday March 29 at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, about 40 kilometers south of the capital Port of Spain.

Trinidad & Tobago 0 Venezuela 0 - Friendly
March 26, 2017

Couva, Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago (4-3-3): 1.Kimika Forbes (GK); 8.Patrice Superville, 3.Anastasia Prescott, 5.Arin King, 20.Lauryn Hutchinson (15.Chevonne John 46); 12.Ranae Ward (19.Laurelle Theodore 79), 7.Dernelle Mascall (6.Nia Walcott 46), 14.Karyn Forbes; 13.Shenelle Henry, 10.Tasha St Louis (captain), 9.Mariah Shade.

Unused substitutes: 21.Shalette Alexander (GK), 2.Ayana Russell, 4.Crystal Mollineaux, 11.Liana Hinds, 16.Ke'die Johnson, 17.Annalis Cummings, 18.Kelsey Henry.

Coach: Carolina Morace

Venezuela (4-4-2): 12.Micheel Rengifo (GK); 17.Yeiny Rosal (20.Paola Camacho 60), 6.Rafanny Mendoza, 2.Petra Cabrera, 4.Barbara Serrano; 10.Paola Villamizar (captain), 8.Tahicelis Marcano, 16.Maikerlin Astudillo, 7.Milagros Mendoza; 11.Joemar Guarecuco (5.Nayle Quintero 90), 19.Vimarest Diaz (18.Hilaris Villasana 52).

Unused substitutes: 1.Oriana Palacios (GK), 13.Andrea De Oliveria, 21.Diosely Mendoza.

Coach: Josefina Infante

Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribalfootball. His latest book is 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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