Canada 1 China 0: The kids are all right
So, to answer the question that's surely entered the minds of Canadian fans on numerous occasions over the past few years, yes.
As in yes, Canada can score without Christine Sinclair or Melissa Tancredi in the lineup.
Sure, it was one goal, and it came off of a giveaway by the opposing defenders. But in lifting Canada to victory in its opening game of the four-nation Yongchuan Cup, Adriana Leon once again demonstrated the instincts and cool finishing that have some already thinking she'll be the one to pick up the slack as we see less of Sinclair and Tancredi in the years to come.
And the 20-year-old wasn't the only youngster to make a splash in the tournament opener.
While Leon scored her first senior national team goal in her first appearance, she was one of six youngsters earning their first senior caps, along with Tiffany Cameron, Christabel Oduro, Kadeisha Buchanan, Ashley Lawrence and Nichelle Prince. Cameron and Oduro are the oldest of the crew, at 22 and 20 years old, respectively.
Two other starters were Bryanna McCarthy (22 years old, 4 caps) and Jodi-Ann Robinson (still just 24, despite having earned 50 caps and been part of the 2008 Olympic team) -- the two will, incidentally, be teammates with the Western New York Flash in the National Women's Soccer League.
So, indeed, head coach John Herdman came through on his promise to use this tournament (the first game, at least) to try new things and get a look at as many potential members of the player pool as possible. Sure, getting the win is nice -- even if Herdman himself admitted afterward that China carried much of the play -- but it's not the priority at this competition. Progress is.
To that end, Herdman called the match "a good step forward" afterwards.
Canada's next match is on Monday morning (3 a.m. PT / 6 a.m. ET) against South Korea, before meeting Norway on Wednesday (1 a.m. PT / 4 a.m. ET).