Playing at more than two thousand meters above sea level, it was supposed to be the host Mexicans who were more comfortable in the thinner air.
But as the first of two friendlies between Canada’s Women’s U-20 Team and their Mexican counterparts went along, it was the Canadians who seemed to flourish the more the game went along as the two teams played to a scoreless draw.
“I think we were disappointed not to get a result based on the performance we had,” said Head Coach Andrew Olivieri. “We created chances and we did a great job shutting down their opportunities. You know you’d hope to get a game like this with a win.”
Apart from Mexico hitting the crossbar two times just seconds apart that undoubtedly momentarily raised the blood pressure along the Canadian bench, the hosts never really troubled Canada’s back line.
And with more than their share of chances in the final third, Canada coped well playing at altitude while still finding their sharpness less than 48 hours after taking a long flight from Toronto.
Olivieri said the fatigue from the travel and the altitude would be a good test of his team’s mental toughness in the first of two dress rehearsal matches against Mexico.
“They certainly struggled but I was impressed with how they committed to the work and they were better than I thought they would be,” Olivieri said of his team. “The girls stayed on the page and I’m really proud to see that.”
Canada will recuperate on Saturday while preparing for another match on Sunday against the same Mexican team before flying out for a week off at home in advance of their final preparations for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2014 Canada.