Published On: Fri, Oct 12th, 2018

Sinclair scores 175th as Canada advances at CONCACAF Women’s Championship

The Canadian women’s national team is one step closer to qualifying for next summer’s Women’s World Cup after advancing to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship with a 3-1 win over Costa Rica on Thursday night.

“I think we feel confident right now,” striker Nichelle Prince told the CONCACAF broadcast in Edinburg, Texas post-match. “I think we’ve played really well throughout the group stage. We’ve wanted to just focus on our performance throughout the group stage and I think we’ve improved a lot and we’ve worked on a lot of things from game one to game three so I think we’re good going into the semifinal.”

Canada's Christine Sinclair, left, shown here in a 2017 file photo, is now nine goals behind American forward Abby Wambach, who holds the all-time record for international goals.
Canada's Christine Sinclair, left, shown here in a 2017 file photo, is now nine goals behind American forward Abby Wambach, who holds the all-time record for international goals.  (Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS file photo)

Canada finished top of Group B with a flawless record — three wins — ahead of second-place Jamaica. The Canadians will now face the second place team from Group A, Panama, in the semifinal, while the United States takes on the Reggae Girlz. Both games will be played on Sunday.

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The champion, runners up and third-place squads earn spots at next summer’s tournament in France.

Costa Rica went into the match needing to win by two goals to advance, after Jamaica beat Cuba 9-0 earlier in the day. It added an element of drama to a game that was already considered the marquee match of this group. The Jamaica team watched from the stands as their fate was also determined by the result on the late match.

For all the fight that was expected from Costa Rica in the elimination game, it was fairly a straightforward win for Canada.

Canada benefitted from two mistakes by Costa Rican goalkeeper Daniela Solera in the first half. She misjudged a tackle on Janine Beckie in the box the 25th minute, going feet-first instead of hands-first. The ball bounced underneath Solera and landed at the Canadian striker’s feet for an easy toe-poke into the net.

Fifteen minutes later, Solera fumbled a cross into the box by Beckie. Prince was there to tap in the ball, scoring her third goal of the tournament to make to 2-0 for the Canadians.

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Captain Christine Sinclair added Canada’s third just before the hour mark, side-footing a cross by defender Allysha Chapman into the net. It was her 175th goal for her country, putting her nine goals behind American forward Abby Wambach, who holds the all-time record for international goals.

The Canadians have outshot their opponents 77-7 in the group stage and out scored them 17-1, but the squad will lament the only goal it conceded, when the defence seemed to fall asleep as Costa Rican midfielder Gloriana Villalobos pulled one back in the 73rd minute on Thursday. It was only the third goal Canada has conceded against Costa Rica all-time.

The No. 5 ranked Canadians will now travel to Frisco, Texas where they will meet the No. 70 Panama, making their first appearance in the Women’s Championship semifinal, and look to clinch a spot in the Women’s World Cup.

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Sinclair scores 175th as Canada advances at CONCACAF Women’s Championship