Canada had 12 goal celebrations in Edinburg Monday night. (Photo courtesy of Canada Soccer)
EDINBURG, Texas — Scoring early and often, Canada rolled to a 12-0 rout of Cuba in a Group B match at the 2018 concacaf Women’s Championship at H-E-B Park Monday night.
The victory boosted the Maple Leafs atop the group with a Thursday meeting with Costa Rica, 1-0 loser to Jamaica in the first game of the doubleheader.
The Canadians (2-0-0, 6 points) need only a tie in their final group match against Costa Rica on Thursday night to reach the semifinals. The victory gave Canada a three-point lead over the Costa Ricans (1-1-0, 3), which had a better goal differntoa; (plus seven to minus one) than Jamaica (1-1-0, 3) despite losing to the Reggae Girlz earlier in the night.
Adriana Leon and Jordyn Huitema each finished with four goals and halftime substitute Christine Sinclair added one to give her 174 international goals, second only to the retired U.S. striker Abby Wambach (184).
“It was a great win, good performance. What we talked before this match was that no matter what we keep our standards high in respect to our opponents, fans that were watching, and the game,” Canada head coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller said. “I’m very pleased.”
Leon gave Canada all the scoring it needed as she slipped the ball past goalkeeper Lucylena Martinez in the 11th minute before Huitema tallied her first two minutes later. Julia Grosso lofted a corner kick into the area that Rebecca Quinn nodded to the 17-year-old Huitema, who headed it home from six yards.
Leon connected on her second in the 23rd minute off a Ashley Lawrence feed, three minutes before 19-year-old Deanne Rose rolled in a 15-yard shot from the right side of the box. Huitema’s second header in the 37th minute gave Canada a 5-0 halftime lead.
Huitema (51st, 71st minutes), Leon (55th, 59th minutes), Quinn (56th minute), Sinclair (63rd minute) and Diana Matheson (72nd minute) closed out the scoring in the second half.
Nichelle Prince, who had a brace in Canada’s 2-0 victory over Jamaica on Friday night, was given the night off.
Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, who was rarely tested, was credited with the shutout.
Group B will wrap up here Thursday when Canada meets Costa Rica and Jamaica plays Cuba.
“We know Costa Rica very well, and we know that they will play differently in a qualification tournament then a friendly, as we saw in Houston in 2016,” Heiner-Moller said. “We’ve been preparing for three very different opponents in this group stage and we’ve prepared for a challenging match against Costa Rica, but we are really looking forward to it as well.”