Canada defeated Trinidad and Tobago, hosts of the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship, 4:1 to secure a spot in the knockout round with six points. Canada will now face Haiti, also with six points, in its final match to determine first and second place in Group A.
Despite an early goal by Trinidad and Tobago in the third minute and a loud home crowd for the opponent, Canada maintained its composure and brought a tactical approach that proved the game-changer. Canada used the wings to move the ball up the field and deep, putting a number of crosses into the box, as well as building in from the sides and forcing Trinidad and Tobago to play deep in their end.
Jordyn Huitema scored first for Canada, knocking in a corner from Julia Grosso in the ninth minute. Huitema struck again in the 52nd minute to put Canada in the lead, earning her fourth goal of the tournament. Canada’s Captain Gabrielle Carle scored from the spot after Canada was awarded a penalty kick off a hand ball in the 67th minute to secure the win. Jordyn Huitema earned the hat trick with a late game clincher in the 87th minute.
“We got the result we wanted,” said Bev Priestman, Canada Soccer Women’s National U-20 Team Coach. “We said going into this game that we wouldn’t settle for anything less than the six points we needed to secure a spot in the semi-final and that is what this team did. This was a physical game, Trinidad and Tobago came out strong as we expected they would. They played well and I am sure their fans really enjoyed the game. For us, we have six points and that is what we set out to do today. I’m particularity pleased with the second half performance. The team rebounded well and stuck to our processes which brought alive our style of play.”
“They were a very resilient team, they went whistle to whistle and they were honest the whole time in the first half,” said Jordyn Huitema. “It was a bit chaotic (but) we brought down the tempo in the second half and played our style of soccer.”
Canada made three subs in the second half of match with Gabrielle Carle coming in for Jayde Riviere (46’), Jessica De Filippo coming in for Caitlin Shaw (68’) in midfield and Nadège L’Espérance
“We were able to rest a few key players today, which with a tight turnaround and five games, will make a difference for us,” said Priestman. “We’ll take away a lot from tonight and apply it to our next match against Haiti, with an eye on winning our group.”