• Friday Feb 19, 2016

    Canada cool, but cautious, for Costa Rica clash

    Canada (pictured) has 11 wins in its last 13 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship games. (Photo: Mexsport)

    HOUSTON – Canada head coach John Herdman believes that his team is in a good place heading into Friday’s CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship semifinal against Costa Rica with a berth to the 2016 Olympic Games and a spot in Sunday’s final at stake.

    “We just finished our last practice, there was a great energy,” Herdman said at the start of a press conference Thursday.  “Everyone is fully rested and their minds are right.”

    And why we wouldn’t they be?

    The Canadians finished first in Group B play with a 3W-0D-0L record, striking for 21 goals and conceding none.  Everyone on the 20-player roster – with the exception of reserve goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo – saw action in at least one game.  Even more impressive, perhaps, a tournament-best 11 squad members have scored at least once.

    Canada and Costa Rica will meet for the fifth time in CWOQ history, when they square off at BBVA Compass Stadium.  The North Americans won each of those previous encounters by the combined score of 12-0.

    Herdman refuses to the let past act as a predictor.

    “These chances don’t come around twice,” the 40-year-old stressed.  “We’ve got to take them.  I think we know that.  It’s all about just bringing that intensity with our attention and letting the quality of Canada shine through because I think if it does, we could be heading to Rio.”

    After a 5-0 loss to the United States in its opener, Costa Rica bounced back strongly with victories over Puerto Rico (9-0) and Mexico (2-1) to finish second in Group A.

    "They've certainly improved, without a doubt,” expressed Herdman in regard to the Ticas.  “Those young players that were there in 2012 (CWOQ) have matured into their peak ages.  People like Shirley Cruz, who are playing now in the top leagues in Europe, playing Champions League football and Raquel Rodríguez, who just got NCAA Player of the Year, so they certainly have got an attacking threat that wasn't there in 2012.”

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