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Two more newcomers to audition for Canada's women's team in friendly vs. Germany

06/18/2013 05:42 EDT | Updated 08/18/2013 05:12 EDT
TORONTO - John Herdman has pleaded patience with his work-in-progress women's soccer team this season.

Two more newcomers will have the chance to audition for Canada's head coach when the Canadians play perennial powerhouse Germany in a friendly on Wednesday.

Defender Rachel Melhado and forward Melissa Busque earned their first call-ups to the senior side, part of an identification plan that Herdman hopes will make his team younger and better.

"I think first and foremost, (Wednesday's game) will be experience for the players," Herdman said on a conference call. "We've got some new players in the environment, which is fantastic. . . hopefully I can give them some gametime. The main thing is to get some good experience under our belt."

Herdman brought 17-year-old Kadeisha Buchanan into the fold this year, and the aggressive defender made a big difference on the back line in Canada's recent 3-0 loss to the United States. Herdman hopes to unearth a few more Buchanans before Canada hosts the 2015 women's World Cup.

Busque, a 23-year-old from St. Bruno, Que., is a forward at Seattle University, and Herdman has been impressed with her confidence in camp.

"Very rarely do you get this," Herdman said. "People tend to have a quiet few days and keep their heads down but every time she's got the ball, she's been running at people, she's been showing little skills that to be honest I haven't seen in players that have come in. Tricks to beat players. Even though she makes a mistake she'll get back and have another go at doing the things that we're looking for, like (one-on-one) craft and trickery. She's looked very positive in training."

Melhado, a 20-year-old defender from Brampton, Ont., plays at Louisville.

"She's here, and you couldn't tell that it's her first tour," Herdman said. "She's just settled in, she's doing all the hard work off the pitch and on the pitch looks quite established.

"It's quite exciting because I think there will be some tough selection decisions around the game, and that gives us an opportunity to get as many players on the pitch as I can."

Seventh-ranked Canada has never beaten or tied Germany, a two-time World Cup champion and the world's No. 2 team behind the United States.

"The girls have a big carrot hanging there, that we go out for something, go for that result and see if we can come home with something in our hands that has been pretty coveted I imagine in the last 20 odd years," Herdman said.

Herdman said the Germans are well-organized and very disciplined in every facet of the game.

"So coming up against a team like this, everyone is digging deep to find ways that Canada can hurt them and not obviously turned over like many teams are against them," Herdman said.

The Canadians plan to focus on the attacking end of the field for the game in Paderborn, after a decent defensive effort against the United States. Herdman said his players lost a lot going forward against the Americans, playing conservatively when they needed to go at them. There were too many passes backward or sideways, or players opting to pass instead of carrying the ball.

"We've really focused and emphasized that as a trait of the team and a bit of a mindset shift, so we said 'Look, you defended brilliantly against the States, but there's no point defending against a team of that quality if you're not going to look to put something in the back of the net, because that's what you're guaranteed with these top teams," Herdman said.

Germany averages three goals a game against Canada.

"They are going to score. No matter how long you try and hold out, if you're not going to put something in the back of the net you're playing with death," Herdman said. "So the girls are very clear that in these big games against better opposition, people have to do things that are special, and they've got to be prepared to do those little things that only they can do, like a (Christine) Sinclair, beat a player and put one top corner, a Diana Matheson, beat three players on a dribble, Desiree Scott to not only tackle and win the ball but travel with it and release one of our midfielders.

"These just weren't evident in the U.S. game, and these are the things that we'll put right at the forefront of our attention while maintaining a lot of the work that we did against the USA."

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