After a somewhat lacklustre first half, which saw only a goal via Christine Sinclair give Canada a lead at the break, the women’s national team poured in the goals in the latter stages of their tournament opener. With super-sub Julia Grosso leading the way with her first two (official) goals for country, Canada beat Trinidad and Tobago 6-0 in their first appearance in the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship.
Canada was heavily favoured to win this match over the 76th-ranked Soca Warriors, but struggled to convert on chances in the first half. But when you’re the GOAT, you only need a half-chance:
The immortal Christine Sinclair put another notch in the goalpost with her 190th international goal from a perfect Ashley Lawrence cross in the 28th minute. Canada had 21 shots, with six on target in the first half, but a Jessie Fleming penalty miss, a nice save by T&T keeper Kimika Forbes and some near misses were all Canada could muster in attempt to widen their lead in the first half.
Canada sputtered out of the gate in the second half, and didn’t generate much of anything until coach Bev Priestman decided to shake things up (finally) with four subs around the 60 minute mark, with Julia Grosso, Jordyn Huitema, Adriana Leon and Allysha Chapman entering the game.
Grosso and Huitema made a near-instant impact when they combined for Grosso to score her first non-gold medal clinching penalty goal for Canada to increase the lead to two in the 67th minute. That opened the floodgates for Canada, with Grosso scoring again in the 79th, Fleming atoning for her earlier PK miss with a goal from open play in the 84th, Janine Beckie scoring rather than assisting (she had two of those) in the 86th, and Jordyn Huitema wrapping things up in the first minute of stoppage time. For those keeping track at home, it was five goals in 24 minutes. It was the women’s team’s biggest win since demolishing Jamaica 9-0 on February 1, 2020 on the strength of five Huitema goals.
- With T&T going with the Very Defensive setting on FM, it was a somewhat surprising choice of tactics and lineup for Priestman to start this match, with a 4-3-3 focusing on wing play and crossing the ball in, which really shouldn’t work when you send a player or two into the box to try to pick out headers while being marked by six or so people. Christine Sinclair don’t give a what though, and scored goal number 190, but what never made sense.
- Jessie Fleming will want that penalty back. The run-up looked doomed to fail and it’s possible she changed her mind about placement last second which caused the miss? The normally sure bet made up for it later though.
- Jayde Riviere was the best player on the field in the first half. Her speed and dynamic runs down the right were way too much for T&T to handle. When she checked her pockets at the end of the day, Chelsi Jadoo was probably still in there.
- I’m not sure how the half-time talk went, but Canada went from being absolutely dominant to absolutely lost for the first 15 minutes of the second half until the first changes were made.
- With all respect to my fellow Winnipegger, Desiree Scott should not have started this game. This is T&T. You don’t need a 6/Anchor against them. You need to break down a low block. the sub of Grosso for Scott was better late than never, as it gave Canada a completely different look in the midfield, with T&T having no answer for Beckie and Leon on the wings, Fleming and Grosso attacking up the middle and Huitema showing why she’s been so highly rated.
- The stat line says T&T had a shot on target and I think that’s being friendly.
- Ashley Lawrence has too much skill to be stuck at left back
- Janine Beckie, if you’re reading this, I want you to consider using sun protection for your skin.