Canada Soccer’s Women’s U-20 team opened the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship with a win over Costa Rica at Ato Boldon Stadium in Trinidad and Tobago.
Canada sought to impose their play on the Costa Ricans from the early minutes of the game, building out from the back line and putting cross after cross into the box, but, it was Catalina Estrada of Costa Rica who struck first, scoring off a misplayed ball by Canada in the 28th minute. After heading into half-time down a goal, Canada rebounded coming into the second half with an offensive thrust that put them ahead 12 minutes in with goals seven minutes apart (Huitema 50’, Carle 57’). Huitema went on to pick up a second goal (66’) to clinch three points for Canada.
“We are really pleased. We wanted to go out there and earn those critical three points and we did. I think the team played very well,” said Bev Priestman, Canada Soccer Women’s U-20 Head Coach and Women’s National EXCEL Director U15-U23 after the match. “There are some things we will take away from this match, but we are now looking ahead to a match against a very different opponent, hosts Trinidad and Tobago, only two days from now.”
Canada made three subs in the second half of the match with Jessica Lisi coming in for Ashley Cathro (67’) at left-back, Caitlin Shaw coming in for Sarah Stratigakis (74’) in midfield and Teni Akindoju replacing Shana Flynn (84’) on the front line.
“Canada is really invested in the women’s game and what you see on the pitch here is six year’s investment in a system and a pathway. As a country we’re investing in young players and those young players have tournament experience and that only helps them in these tournament environments,” added Priestman.
Canada’s second group stage match will be against Trinidad and Tobago on 20 January.
Canada has won the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship twice before in 2004 and 2008.