The United States has a long, somewhat complicated history with our neighbor to the north, Canada. Well - it’s perhaps more complicated on the Canadian side, considering they’ve come out on the losing end against the US in games big and small over the years. Perhaps one of the most visceral and thrilling soccer games of all time was the 2012 Olympic semifinal between the two, when Christine Sinclair seemed as though she would drag Canada into the gold medal match with her bare hands (and her head). Alas, it was not to be for perennial underdog Canada, and the United States went on to take gold that year.
Since then the United States has beaten Canada three times and tied them once, with their last face-off on February 21, 2016 in Houston during Olympic qualifying. That was a 2-0 win with goals from Lindsey Horan and Tobin Heath.
The two rivals will meet again at the end of 2017 in a home-and-away series. The United States will play Canada away on November 9 in Vancouver at BC Place, and then at home on November 12 in an American city TBD. This is a fantastic way to close out the year and won’t conflict with NWSL, which will have their championship final several weeks earlier on October 14.
The United States recently regained their #1 FIFA ranking, while Canada continues to enjoy their highest-ever ranking at #4. The US is currently in the midst of an experimental phase, though Jill Ellis seems to be starting to put certain pieces into place; meanwhile, John Herdman is trying to integrate young players into a Canadian squad that is inching closer to the day when it can no longer rely so heavily on Sinclair. In a press conference announcing the friendlies, Herdman said he wanted to use these games against the US as a benchmark for performance, allowing him to see where the gaps were as Canada prepares for 2019 and 2020. The United States may do the same, although to a lesser extent depending on how much Ellis reacts to whatever roster Canada puts out. Between the two countries, Herdman has always been less afraid than Ellis to endure a loss if it meant learning something about his squad. But short of dragging a European team to the United States, this is the best competition the USWNT will find to close out 2017.