Everything went as expected on Thursday, the opening night of the CONCACAF women’s soccer Olympic qualifying tournament from Vancouver, B.C. Costa Rica dominated Cuba in a 2-0 win and Canada thumped on Haiti 6-0 behind four goals from captain Christine Sinclair.
Sinclair’s four goals – the final of which cam on an 85th minute penalty kick – give her 124 in her career, just one behind U.S. striker Abby Wambach for fourth on the all-time list of world goal-scorers. Canada’s fifth and sixth goals came following injury to Haiti’s starting goalkeeper, Ednie Limage.
The 6-0 score does justice to Canada’s box-to-box domination, but it does not highlight an impressive performance from Limage. Aside from one mistake (Canada’s second goal and Sinclair’s first, when Limage tried to kick-save the ball that came right at her), Limage looked like a very athletic shot-stopper.
Canada, looked very sharp in this match, but they played a Haiti team far over-matched technically and tactically.
Costa Rica fit the bill as the likely No. 2 team in Group A, although there are some question marks for Las Ticas. The biggest problem for Costa Rica seems to be in net, where Julieth De Los Angeles looks very shaky. She is filling in for the injured Dinnia Diaz.
Marianne Ugalde had to save Arias from conceding an equalizer in the first half when Rachel Pelaez and Yesenia Gallardo – Cuba’s two bright spots – broke down the Costa Rica defense.
Cuba and Haiti should be an interesting match for the purpose of third place bragging rights, but Costa Rica will likely go through to the semifinals behind Canada. If Thursday was any indication, however, there is a big drop in talent from Canada to Costa Rica. The host Canadians should cruise through the group stage.
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