Gayle goal gives Canada a chance for gold

Canadian Soccer Association

Canadian Soccer Association

Canada won 2:1 in the semi-final stage of the XVI Pan American Games Guadalajara 2011 Women’s Football Tournament. The victory over Colombia – with the winner scored by Robyn Gayle in the 88th minute – promises Canada a shot at the gold medal against two-time defending champion Brazil. Gayle scored the winner just seven minutes after Colombia had equalised.

After a scoreless first half, substitute Kaylyn Kyle opened the scoring in the 48th minute. Canada held that lead for much of the second half before Catalina Usme equalised from a free kick. The match would have been sent to extra time had Gayle not scored the winner from inside the Colombian box.

“I have to credit Lauren for the good service,” said Gayle. “I just went in pretending I was a striker and it kind of worked out.”

Lauren Sesselmann delivered a long free kick that flew over a couple of players before landing on Robyn Gayle near the back post. Gayle controlled the ball and then volleyed it into the net for a 2-1 lead. It was the first goal of Gayle’s international career.

Canada was the better team for much of the match, but could not score on numerous chances in the first half. Christina Julien had the first great chance with a run down the right side and a shot on target, albeit saved by Sandra Sepulveda. On the ensuing corner kick, Canada got the ball in the box, but the Colombia defenders frantically kept the bouncing ball out.

Julien had another good chance late in the first half while Sinclair had a couple of good runs into the box in between. On one chance, Sinclair danced through a pair of defenders, but then shot the ball just wide of target. On another chance, her shot was stopped by Sepulveda.

“There would some good passages of play from both teams,” said Herdman. “Colombia has a style of play that includes very technically-gifted players. I thought Canada dealt with that well. We knew that Yorely Rincon and Lady Andrade could be trouble, but they were not tonight.”

In the second half, substitute Kyle needed less than three minutes to make her mark on the match: she fired a shot from the top of the box that deflected off a Colombian defender and poast Sepulveda. Captain Sinclair had initiated the play by driving down the left side and drawing defenders. She then stopped her run and passed it back past Julien to the boots of Kyle.

Colombia finally equalised in the 81st minute following the free kick by Usme. Usme’s initial kick was blocked by Kelly Parker, but the rebound came back to Usme who delivered her second kick into the corner of the net.

For this match, Canada’s starting XI featured Karina LeBlanc in goal, Lauren Sesselmann at left back, Candace Chapman and Shannon Woeller at centre back, Rhian Wilkinson at right back, and Kelly Parker, Diana Matheson, Christina Julien, Desiree Scott, Christine Sinclair and Sophie Schmidt from the midfield up through to the attack.

In the second half, coach John Herdman replaced Scott with Kaylyn Kyle (46th minute), Wilkinson with Robyn Gayle (58′), and Julien with Melanie Booth (90+2′). Two of Herdman’s three substitutes found the back of the net.

Colombia’s starting XI featured Sandra Sepulveda in goal, Fatima Montaño at left back, Yulieht Dominguez and Kelis Peduzine at centre back, Daniela Montoya at right back, and Diana Ospina, Nataly Arias, Catalina Usme, Carmen Rodallega, Yorely Rincon, and Lady Andrade from the midfield up through to the attack.

In the second half, coach Ricardo Rozo switched Rincon with Katerin Castro (55′) and Montaño with Kena Romero (90+1′).

Goal-scorer Gayle made her 50th appearance for Canada, becoming the 24th player to reach the milestone. Goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc, meanwhile, made her 93rd appearance to move into 10th place on the all-time list (surpassing retired Kara Lang, 92).

Also of note, Diana Matheson was selected Player of the Match by coach Herdman.

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