Christine Sinclair celebrates her 183rd international goal. (Photo courtesy of Canada Soccer)
Christine Sinclair is one goal away from tying Abby Wambach’s international goal-scoring record.
The Canadian international striker connected for her 183rd goal of her career in a 3-0 victory over New Zealand Sunday to clinch third place at the International Women’s Football Tournament Yongchuan 2019 in China.
Wambach, who retired in 2015, tallied 184 goals in her U.S. career.
Sinclair scored in the opening half while Janine Beckie added a brace in the second half with Ashley Lawrence providing the assist on the first and third goals.
The 36-year-old Sinclair will have to wait until next year because this was the final game for the Canadian women in 2019.
Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé tied Canada’s season record with her eighth clean sheet.
“We got the result we wanted and that is very important for the confidence of the team,” Canada head coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller said. “Scoring three goals and getting the clean sheet feels very good.”
The Canadians improved their 2019 record to 8-4-3.
Sinclair could tie and break the record during the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in January and February. Canada has been drawn into Group B to face Saint Kitts and Nevis Jan. 19, Jamaica Feb. 1 and Mexico Feb. 4. The semifinals are scheduled for Feb. 6 followed by the final Feb. 9.
“Since the FIFA Women’s World Cup, we have been looking at our depth and staying loyal to that process in order to get down to 20 players before the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifiers in January,” Heiner-Møller said.
The Maple Leafs scored in the 35th minute on a Christine Sinclair header after a cross from the right from Lawrence. The play moved from Huitema to Gabrielle Carle to Lawrence on the right to Sinclair inside the box.
Beckie doubled Canada’s lead in the 64th minute, taking advantage of a rebound after goalkeeper Erin Nayler made the save on Huitema. Three minutes later, Beckie scored again, this time off a Lawrence cross.
Late in the match, 15-year-old substitute Olivia Smith nearly scored her first international goal, but her shot from the right was just wide of the target.