A slow start turned into a goalscorer on Tuesday night as Canada beat Trinidad and Tobago 6-0 to open play at the CONCACAF W Championship in Guadalupe, Mexico.
Canada, the defending Olympic champion, is sixth in the world compared to number 76 for Trinidad.
Despite the dominating play, Canada held a narrow 1-0 lead two-thirds of the way into the game on captain Christine Sinclair’s 190th international goal. Determined Trinidadian defense and a faulty finish caused Canadian frustration.
Watch Friday’s game against Panama live on OneSoccer at 10pm ET or rebroadcast on CBC and CBC Gem at 12:30pm local time. Watch Monday’s game against Costa Rica live on CBC, CBC Gem and OneSoccer at 6:30 PM ET
But five goals in the last 23 minutes – with four in the last 11 minutes – completely changed the storyline.
The eight-team tournament, which runs through July 18, will serve as a qualifier in the Americas and the Caribbean for both the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Previously, World Cup and Olympic qualifiers were separate in the region.
VIEW | Sinclair scores 190th international goal in Canada’s win:
Canada, whose lack of scoring has been a problem lately, defeated Trinidad 27-1 (9-1 in shots on goal) and had 61 percent possession, according to CONCACAF.
Canada had only scored six goals in the previous six games this year, while it was 2-1-3.
“I’m very happy with six goals and a clean sheet. It’s nothing to scoff at,” added Priestman. “And it wasn’t perfect. I was frustrated at times. The players were… [frustrated]† But that will come and the confidence will come. And we just have to keep going.”
Canada imposes will behind strong offensive efforts
After Sinclair opened the scoring with a majestic header in the 27th minute, Canada suffered a drought in front of goal before Grosso, out of a nice arrangement by substitute Huitema, scored on a low left shot in the 67th minute.
Grosso, a 21-year-old midfielder who plays for Juventus in Italy, struck again in the 79th after Trinidad failed to clear a cross. The ball went to Grosso, who shifted the ball to her right foot to get past a defender before firing the ball home.
It was a one-way street that night and Canada could have gone into halftime 8-0, but instead walked off the field 1-0.
Canada had 60 percent possession in the first 45 minutes, beating Trinidad 16-0 (7-0 in shots on goal).
Canada controlled the game from the start and came close to taking a lead in the 16th minute when Sinclair, in her 311th national team appearance, hit the goal post after a nice build up by Deanne Rose and Beckie.
Trinidad’s defenses held out early on, but clearing attempts invariably found a Canadian, usually at the far end of Trinidad, and the attack started again.
Eleven of Sinclair’s world record goals have been scored at the CONCACAF Championship.
Sinclair was stabbed in the 29th minute, prompting Mexican referee Katia Garcia to go to a monitor on the pitch to watch the game before pointing to the penalty spot. Fleming stepped up but missed and fired high in the 34th.
Canada unsuccessfully appealed for another penalty when Beckie went down in the 37th minute. Forbes reached high to deny Rose’s high, hard shot in the 45th minute.
Beckie scored in first half stoppage time, on a selfless feed from Sinclair, but the offside flag went up.
Priestman said she told the team during intermission to “release the handbrake” and speak out.
“Sometimes we stick to a script too much,” said the coach.
Looking to inject some energy, Priestman made a quadruple substitution with Grosso, Huitema, Allysha Chapman and Adriana Leon with 30 minutes to go.
More results, qualifying for upcoming events
Canada and Trinidad play in Pool B, along with No. 37 Costa Rica and No. 57 Panama. Group A consists of the top-ranked US, No. 26 Mexico, No. 51 Jamaica and No. 60 Haiti.
Costa Rica defeated Panama 3-0 in Tuesday’s earlier game at Estadio BBVA in Guadalupe, located in a suburb of Monterrey. The 51,000 seat stadium is the home of Monterrey CF.
Canada will face Panama on Thursday at Estado Universitaro in Monterrey.
The top two teams from each of the two groups advance to the semi-finals and qualify directly for the 2023 World Cup. The two teams in third place advance to an intercontinental play-off for the World Cup.
The CONCACAF W champion qualifies for both the 2024 Olympics and the inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup, also slated for 2024. The second and third-placed team will meet in a CONCACAF Olympic playoff, slated for September 2023 , with the winner receiving his ticket to the 2024 Olympics and the Gold Cup.
The Canadian women won all nine encounters with Trinidad and Tobago, beating the Soca Warriors 40-0. Canada also won 6-0 the last time they met, at the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship in Houston.
Canada has won the CONCACAF Championship twice (1998 and 2010) and was runner-up five times (1991, 1994, 2002, 2006 and 2018). It entered the game with a 29 9-1 record at the tournament.
Trinidad’s best result was third place in 1991. For Tuesday, the record in the tournament was 7-21-5.