ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – On Thursday, Canada improved to 5-0-0 all-time in CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship openers, when it defeated Guatemala, 3-0, at the Grenada Athletics Stadium.
While head coach Bev Priestman was pleased with the overall Canadian performance, she would have liked her team to be more ruthless in front of the goal.
“If we look at the positives, I think we had numerous chances to score,” said the 30-year-old. “It probably didn’t reflect the flow of the game. Overall, [I’m] happy with the attacking threats we had, just have to put the ball in the back of the net more often.”
Canada created numerous scoring opportunities, but were denied by timely saves and defensive interventions, as well as some misfortune.
One of the players on key, though, was TSG player of the match Sarah Stratigakis. The 16-year-old proved to be a maestro in midfield, scoring one goal and assisting on two others. Her production was not unexpected, especially considering she was named to the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship Best XI team.
“Sarah is one of those players that you always want to have on the pitch,” Priestman remarked. “She uses her body very well, difficult to defend against. We’ve seen the same things that I’ve been seeing for the last two years. As a player, she’s definitely progressed and she’s a leader in this team. I think her performances in this tournament are just going to get better.”
Host Grenada, which lost 13-0 to Haiti in its first-ever CU17W, is next up for Canada. Priestman wants the squad to experience the sensation of facing a host nation at an international event. That being said, improving and developing as the tournament progresses is what concerns her most.
“Moving into the game against Grenada, it’s going to be a game full of passion, I’d imagine in the home nation, lots of fans,” she finished. “So I’m looking forward to the girls playing in the home nation, but I’d think we’ll really try to build on being more clinical. Keep the ball and keep trying to play the way Canada wants to play.”