Whitby’s Sheridan shines again; Gilles, Viens score as Canada rebounds with win over Brazil

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Published February 21, 2023 at 10:04 am

Vanessa Gilles is congratulated after scoring the game's first goal Sunday against Brazil

A flat performance by the Canadian women’s national team in game one of the She Believes Cup against the powerful Americans was almost expected after an emotional week due to an ongoing labour dispute.

But if Bev Priestman and her national team want to be ready for this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, a rebound performance was required against Brazil in Sunday’s second game of the four-team round-robin tournament.

They got it, with Whitby goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan turning in a Performer of the Match effort in helping the sixth-ranked Canadians blank the ninth-ranked Brazilians 2-0.

Canada looked composed and were lethal on set pieces. Vanessa Giles scored her third career goal for Canada in the 31st minute on an emphatic header from a Jessie Fleming corner and Evelyne Viens made it 2-0 40 minutes later when she scored between the legs of a Brazilian defender off a Fleming free kick, with a little help from captain Christine Sinclair.

Sheridan was busy in the first half against the hard pressing Brazilians and had to come up big a couple of times late; one off her knees and the other with an athletic glove save to push a dangerous shot up and over the crossbar.

Priestman also singled out Courtice defender Allysa Chapman and substitute Cloe Lacasse for their efforts. Priestman has been without four key players due to injury, including Pickering’s Jayde Riviere and Nichelle Prince of Ajax.

Janine Beckie played in her 100th game for Canada while Brazilian legend Marta, recovering from knee injury and celebrating her 37th birthday, came on as a substitute just before the hour mark.

USA squeezed by Japan 1-0 earlier Sunday to hold on to first place in the tournament. The Americans would have to lose to Brazil on the final day Wednesday in Frisco, Texas and Canada would have to beat 11th-ranked Japan and erase a goal differential of three to win the event.

The Canadians, who are playing under protest due to the labour impasse with Canada Soccer, once again took the field for the anthems wearing purple T-shirts saying ‘Enough is Enough.’ The women also wore purple tape on their wrist, as did Priestman, to symbolize gender equality.

England also wore purple wristbands in their 2-1 win over Italy Sunday at the Arnold Clark Cup in Coventry, England. The team said on social media the gesture was “to display their support” for the Canadian players in their fight for gender equality.

Beckie, Sinclair, Sophie Schmidt and Quinn have been the leading voices for the team during their labour dispute.

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