Sunday, March 12, 2017

Canada - Costa Rica in Winnipeg, June 8th

I'm not much interested in providing updates to this space recently, as the number of posts over the last few years would indicate. Readers, regular and otherwise, seem to share this disinterest.

Yet a few are being directed here recently, by the powers of Google, in search of information about Canada's women's national team playing in Winnipeg. This is what I had to say about the last time les rouges were in town, and Kadeisha Buchanan ate Abby Wambach's lunch all game, and scored to boot.

Anyway, the women are coming back:

The short version of this post is this: if you're in Winnipeg, get your tickets

The slightly longer version follows below:

The opponent
Costa Rica is no world-beater in women's football, but a step up from the non-NAFTA powers in CONCACAF. Canada qualified for the Olympics by beating Costa Rica by a relatively narrow 2-0 margin, including this Christine Sinclair strike. Canada are back-to-back Olympic bronze medalists but also a squad in transition with a bevy of teenagers beginning to take over for some of the veterans.

The stadium
If you watched the Women's World Cup in 2015, you'll know that, the turf aside, Investor's Group field looks pretty good when decked out for soccer. Visitor's from out of town may find the location not the most accessible if staying downtown or near the airport, but honestly I don't expect many of those for this match.

IG Field decked out in red

The crowd
In 2014 a crowd of over 28 000 took in the friendly with USA. There are several reasons to expect a smaller audience this time: 
  • The opponent is not the USA, a draw in any sport, but especially one in which they are defending World Cup champs
  • The WWC is in the rearview mirror, not on the horizon like in 2014
  • Again, Costa Rica
The organizers seem to have acknowledged as much, as only the lower bowl is open (so far, at least). I'd qualify any crowd larger than 10 000 as a relative success.

On the bright side
Compared to early May in 2014, a June evening should be a far more pleasant evening to watch a kick-about. And tickets, due to lower anticipated demand, are eminently affordable, ranging from $25 behind the goals to $55 to sit at midfield.

Somewhat curiously, the tickets for the Winnipeg match are priced between $5-10 cheaper than similar seats for the June 11th match-up at BMO Field in Toronto against the same opponent, despite Winnipeg being a harder sell for a number of reasons:
Although this is a rather sensible explanation:
Go to the game
For one, if  you leave in Winnipeg this may be your best last chance to see Christine Sinclair, a living legend, live and in person. And two, national teams of any kind come here so rarely (the men haven't been back since 1999) that it's worth getting out to see the action. I'll be there.