Christine Sinclair (middle) celebrates after scoring against Trinidad & Tobago in the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship on February 14, 2016, in Houston, Texas. (Photo: Mexsport)
HOUSTON – Canada (2W-0D-0L, 6 points) earned a place in the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Championship semifinals with a game to spare thanks to a 6-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago on Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The result sets up an intriguing clash between the Trinidadians and Guyana on Tuesday at the same venue. The Caribbean rivals are tied for second place in Group B on three points each, but the Guyanese hold the slight advantage on goal difference (-4 to -5).
Amazingly, it was Matheson’s first-ever goal in CWOQ play after 172 caps that include 11 games in the competition. The 31-year-old midfielder put Canada ahead 1-0 in the 24th minute, taking a superb feed along the ground down the right wing by the outstanding Josee Belanger, racing into the box and firing a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Kimika Forbes from 12-yards out.
A minute before halftime, the hustling Ashley Lawrence delivered a left-sided cross that Tancredi nodded in from inside the six-yard box to double the advantage. Tancredi has scored in three CWOQ editions for seven total goals.
Two minutes after entering as a substitute, Sinclair increased her CWOQ-record goal haul to 16, when she made a smart run from the middle to the left and latched on to a ball from Beckie. The unmarked 32-year-old turned, dribbled into the box and deposited a low, right-footed shot beyond Forbes at the near post from 10-yards out.
Although 16-year-old Deanne Rose did not match her two-goal, one-assist performance from the win over Guyana, she still managed to make an impression. In the 66th minute, the forward cleverly back-heeled a pass at the right-goal line to Buchanan, whose right-footed blast hit the back of the net.
Belanger added assists in the 75th and 79th minutes as her right-sided crosses resulted in Beckie (header) and Fleming (right foot), respectively, netting their first-ever CWOQ goals.
Canada will return to action on Tuesday against already-eliminated Guatemala.