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Injuries force Canada coach to make roster changes ahead of Australia friendlies

Canada's Christine Sinclair watches the play during second-half soccer action against Brazil in Halifax, N.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ron Ward Canada's Christine Sinclair watches the play during second-half soccer action against Brazil in Halifax, N.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ron Ward
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Coach Bev Priestman has called up forward Latifah Abdu and veteran midfielder Sophie Schmidt to replace the injured Evelyne Viens and Julia Grosso for Canada's upcoming friendlies against Australia.

Canada, ranked 10th in the world, hosts the 11th-ranked Matildas in friendlies Friday in Langford, B.C., and Dec. 5 in Vancouver in captain Christine Sinclair's final outings in Canadian colours.

Viens was substituted in AS Roma's Nov. 23 Champions League victory over Ajax. Juventus said Grosso sprained her left ankle in a weekend win at Napoli with a subsequent scan showing a ligament injury.

Schmidt retired from international soccer after this summer's World Cup but is being honoured at the Vancouver game along with Sinclair and retired goalkeeper Erin McLeod, who announced her international retirement in January.

The original plan called for Schmidt to suit up one last time in Vancouver. But with Grosso sidelined, she has also been added to the roster for the Victoria game.

The 35-year-old from Abbotsford, B.C., who plays for the NWSL's Houston Dash, has won 224 caps for Canada.

It's a first senior camp for Abdu, a 22-year-old from Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que., who plays in France for Dijon.

Abdu was 15 when she made her debut in the Canadian youth program in 2017 under Priestman. She has not featured for Canada since the under-17 team.

Australia will be without star forward Sam Kerr, who is staying in London for treatment on a foot injury at her Chelsea club side.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2023.

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