Canada kicked off their CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifiers last night by defeating Trinidad and Tobago 1-0. The Canadians dominated in possession but were unable to put away more goals, which were partly related to not being able to develop rhythm against a very physical T&T side and some questionable calls by the referees. Play was sloppy, but “a win is a win” seems to be the theme of the night.
-The starting line up was very similar to the one that won 3-1 against China on September 30, with the exception of Carmelina Moscota being replaced by Sophie Schmidt. Karina LeBlanc was in net, with Marie-Eve Nault, Emily Zurrer, Candace Chapman and Rhian Wilkinson in defence, Diana Matheson, Sophie Schmidt and Kaylyn Kyle in midfield, and Melissa Tancredi, Christine Sinclair and Josée Bélanger up top.
-The number of goals is definitely a hot topic of discussion for this game. Most people were probably expecting a blow out. In past CONCACAF WWCQ meetings between Canada and T&T, high-scoring games had been the norm, including 6-0 (1991), 4-0 (1993), and 5-0 (1994) victories by Canada.
-Tancredi scored a hat-trick, but the first 2 goals were disallowed on questionable calls by the far side assistant referee. In the 36′, Tancredi held her run while anticipating a cross from Kyle. The ball bounced off a T&T defender and to Tancredi, who slotted the shot past the goalkeeper’s outstretched legs. Prior to Kyle’s cross, the AR appears to be a couple steps behind the defensive line, which would have made it difficult for her to make a proper call. Then in the 42′, Bélanger sent in a through ball past 3 T&T players to Sinclair, who was behind the last defender. Sinclair’s cross to Tancredi was roofed into the net but that goal, too, was also called back.
-The all-important goal finally came in the 63′. Following a poorly taken T&T corner kick, Canada made a quick succession of passes starting from a clearance by Nault to second half substitute Jonelle Filigno, who tapped the ball over to Matheson. She then passed it up field to Sinclair, who booted the ball over to Wilkinson making a run from her defensive position. She then looped the ball over to Tancredi, who muscled her way past the defender, settled the ball with her abs stomach, and sent a right footed shot into the back of the net, all while in stride and falling over. It was this type of quick decision making that was lacking in the early part of the game, but more on this later in the post.