Canada will be without Ashley Lawrence when they face New Zealand in two women’s soccer friendlies.
The Canadian women, who are currently ranked sixth in the world, will face the women of New Zealand, ranked 23NSSaturday at TD Place in Ottawa and Tuesday at Saputo Stadium in Montreal. These matches, billed as a “celebratory run,” are the women’s team’s first since winning the Olympic gold in Tokyo this summer.
Coach Bev Priestman revealed that Lawrence, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain, has a slight injury.
“I’ve seen how busy his season has been,” Priestman said during a virtual availability on Friday. It will not be available to play in matches. So we have collectively decided that it is better for Ashley to prepare to play for PSG.
“She’s obviously disappointed not to be here. I know the teams and fans would definitely love to have Ashley there.”
The 26-year-old full-back/midfielder has made 101 caps for Canada. She is one of only three Canadians, along with captain Christine Sinclair and quarterback Jesse Fleming, to be among the 20 finalists for the Ballon d’Or as the best women’s player in the world.
Priestman, who will make her first game as coach for the Canadian national team, said 20-year-old defender Jade Riviere arrived late to camp due to academic demands at the University of Michigan. Riviere, Markham, Ont. , who has 25 Canadian matches, was scheduled for Friday.
The Canadians are 8-1-4 against New Zealand, the only loss being in their first meeting in December 1987.
Canada won 3-0 in their last meeting, a tournament in China in November 2019.
The two countries have faced each other in the last two World Cups. They played a 0-0 draw in Edmonton in June 2015, Canada won 2-0 in Grenoble, France in June 2019.
Canada’s next official matches in July will be the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship.
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