As reported by the Associated Press on Thursday, the Canadian women's national team will be squaring off with #4-ranked Brazil in a friendly on March 24, somewhere in Massachusetts*. The third-party location for the friendly isn't overly unusual, especially for Brazil -- the last time the men's national teams of Canada and Brazil met, in 2008, the game was in Seattle.
(Update, 9:31 a.m. As per WomensSoccerUnited.com, the match will be played at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, which is regrettably still home to MLS's New England Revolution).
It's also not unusual to see Canada and Brazil meet each other in the women's game. They've battled three times in the last 15 months, with each match being tied after 90 minutes. Most recently, Canada claimed gold at the 2011 Pan Am Games in a penalty shootout against a depleted Brazilian side, thanks largely to a stellar performance from goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc. Prior to that, in December 2010, Canada drew Brazil twice in a Four Nations tournament in Sao Paulo, with Christine Sinclair scoring this goal in the 83rd minute of the final game:
This game is in addition to the two planned friendlies on Canadian soil for the CanWNT this year. The Canadian Soccer Association hopes to play an "Olympic send-off" game, as well as a CSA centenary match for the women's side (the men's team plays their centenary match against the USA on June 3). As for the location of those games, all the CSA has said so far is "probably not Toronto".
And before any of that takes place, Big Red will defend its title at the annual Cyprus Cup. Canada has won the tournament three out of the four times it's been played, including a 2-1 victory over the Netherlands in last year's final. This year, Canada (#7) will face the Netherlands (#14) again, in group stage play, along with Italy (#11) and Scotland (#22). The winner of that group will face the winner of Group A -- France (#6), England (#8), Finland (#20) and Switzerland (#25) -- to determine the champion.
A replay against France would be a good -- though not truly representative -- sign of how far the team has come in its short time under head coach John Herdman. France, as you'll undoubtedly recall, took the Canadian team out behind the woodshed at last summer's Women's World Cup, in a comprehensive 4-0 thrashing. Let's hope for a much different result this time, if that matchup comes to pass.