Canada falls short of CONCACAF title

Team Canada 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship Review 

The 2018 CONCACAF women’s championship concluded in disappointment for a promising Team Canada, who lost 2-0 in the final to old rivals, the United States.  

Although the tournament had ended in defeat for Canada, there were an abundance of bright spots for the team to build off of for a potential 2019 World Cup run. 

Canada entered the tournament ranked fifth in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, and were placed in Group B, which featured Jamaica, Costa Rica and Cuba. Canada had been early favourites to top the group and had lived up to expectations. 

Canada vs. Jamaica 

Canada began the tournament against Jamaica, and the 2-0 win for the Canadians did not fairly represent the game. Canada dominated this game, outshooting Jamaica 20-2, dominating the ball, holding possession for 71 per cent of the match and completely out-passing Jamaica, with Canada completing 409 compared to Jamaica’s 119. Forward Nichelle Prince scored both goals, during minutes 33 and 80. 

Canada vs. Cuba 

Canada followed their strong open with a show of dominance against Cuba, winning 12-0. It was similar to the first game, with Canada outshooting Cuba 46-1 and holding 68 per cent of possessions. However, unlike the first game, Canada had six separate scorers, with both Adriana Leon and Jordyn Huitema scoring four goals each. Captain Christine Sinclair came off the bench for the start of the second half, adding to the goal tally when she scored during the 63rd minute. 

Canada vs. Costa Rica 

Canada followed their performance against Cuba with a 3-1 victory over Costa Rica, conceding their first goal of the tournament. Much like the previous games, Canada held possession, out-shot and out-passed Costa Rica. Three different scorers for Canada found the back of the net, with Christine Sinclair, Janine Beckie and Nichelle Prince each adding to their records. Canada had concluded the group stage sitting very comfortably atop Group B with nine points and a goal difference of +16. 

Canada vs. Panama (semi-finals) 

The semi-finals brought much of the same as the group stages, with Canada facing runners-up of Group A, Panama. En route to a dominant 7-0 win over Panama, Canada also secured a spot in the 2019 World Cup in France. During the match, Christine Sinclair added two more goals to her record, slowly closing in on the all-time goal scoring record held by former United States forward Abby Wambach. 

Canada vs. USA (championship) 

After dominating their way to the final, Canada had faced their biggest challenge of the tournament, playing against their rivals the United States. Unlike in previous games, Canada was unable to outplay the United States, with possession, shooting and passing numbers all being held comfortably by the United States. After conceding in the second minute to a goal from Rose Lavelle, Canada did not look like the squad that had reached the final. The game was sealed for the Americans after a 89th minute goal from Alex Morgan, crushing any hopes of a dream injury-time tie and potential winner from any one of Canada’s players. 

Despite the disappointing loss, Canada had plenty to take away from the tournament and much to build off of. Canada had entered the tournament with an average age of only 24, and the final roster included six current or former players from the U-21 team. The core of Team Canada is getting older, with top goal scorer and captain Christine Sinclair reaching the end of her illustrious career and long-time regulars Diana Matheson and Sophie Schmidt entering the tail end of their primes. Canada will be losing key players sooner rather than later.  

However, with the youth in the squad and with the continued growth of the sport within Canada, Canada’s Women’s National Team should have no issues competing at the top of the world rankings for the foreseeable future. 

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