2-0. 3 points. Top of the group. Semi Final qualification confirmed in front of an impressive 12,000+ crowd. Job done. Well, yes, but. Canada were less than impressive against an obviously overmatched and unambitious Cuba side in a game that really showed the importance of Christine Sinclair to this side.
Cuba played a similar defensive game in their opening match against Costa Rica, and at the time I was unimpressed with the Costa Ricans, who were all over Cuba but just without the quality to really make it count. It was a different story for Canada in the first half as despite 8 changes to the team that started against Haiti by coach John Herdman they dominated possession and looked very dangerous with it.
Sinclair and Melissa Tancredi were both in the starting line up again, and both scored, Sinclair from the penalty spot and Tancredi with a header from a Sinclair cross. They were both impressive, as was Kaylyn Kyle causing all sorts of problems running at the defence and also Alyscha Mottershead. She took advantage of the huge amounts of space the Cubans were willing to give up to control the midfield and make a lot of dangerous defence splitting passes, including the one that set up Sinclair's cross to Tancredi for the second goal. They looked good as well as having the cutting edge necessary to make their advantage count.
The second half though was a different story. Sinclair was rested at the half and it seemed like that cutting edge I mentioned took a seat on the bench with her. It was still all Canada, but all of a sudden it was laboured and a lot less dangerous looking, very similar to what Costa Rica managed to do against Cuba. It's too obvious a connection to be a coincidence, the B team with Sinclair was more than good enough to beat Cuba, the B team without Sinclair, well that was a little alarming really.
But, as I said, they got the job done, I'd expect more of the first team to be back for Monday's game against Costa Rica to clinch first place and also get a final warm up in before next weekend's semi final and final. Costa Rica beat Haiti 2-0 earlier so they also have 6 points and a semi final place nailed down, Monday will decide who gets first place and presumably avoids those powerhouse USA bullies in the semis.
Highlights after the jump.