Under the intense Central American summer heat Monday, the Canadian women’s national team went on to beat Costa Rica 2-0 thus clinching top spot in Group B at the CONCACAF championship.
Sophie Schmidt and Jessie Fleming buried goals as the Canadian side improved to 3-0-0 at the tourney.
At 6 p.m. local time Monday the temperature gauge read 40 degrees Celsius at the 51,000-capacity Estadio BBVA, which is home to CF Monterrey.
The Red & Whites had plenty of chances for scores despite the heat and Costa Rica’s strategy to slow the Canadian attack by switching to a back-5 formation.
“I think (Canadian) players walking off the pitch would have wanted some moments back where it could have been more than two (goals), said CWNT head coach Bev Priestman. “But at the same time I thought we created a lot and we dominated. So that’s the main thing.”
In a show of dominance, Canada outshot the Costa Rican side 11-1, according to the CONCACAF website.
“Overall I thought it was a professional performance,” noted Priestman. “It wasn’t perfect but it was professional.”
By finishing first in their group, the Canadian avoid playing #1 seed U.S.A. which concluded their group play Monday night with a 1-0 win over Mexico.
The Canadian women have played against the U.S. in 5 of the previous ten CONCACAF finals, with the U.S. winning all five times. But the Canadians have momentum as they took the last game from the Americans winning 1-0 at the Tokyo Olympics semi-finals last summer, on their way to a gold medal finish.
Canadian Women Can Play At A Higher Level
“Definitely the team has another gear and that’s exciting as a coach,” said Priestman post-game. “I think we’ve come out of this third game in a much closer space to where we need to be for the two games that are ahead of us.”
Winning the CONCACAF tourney punches a national team’s ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics and to the inaugural CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2024. The Canadian women’s team had already booked their flight to the 2023 World Cup in Australia by finishing in the top two of this CONCACAF tournament along with Costa Rica.