It was a cool, overcast day at BMO Field in Toronto for the Women’s International Friendly soccer game between Canada and Mexico. A chilly breeze was blowing in off Lake Ontario as the sun was trying to break through.
This was the send off game for the Canadian Women as they prepare for the World Cup starting on June 7th in France in a warmup game against Spain.
Today, Canada was playing without two of their veterans, midfielder Diana Matheson (toe injury), and goalkeeper Erin McLeod (injury). Luckily, they have their captain Christine Sinclair who was looking to inch closer to the world record for International Goals. The captain was just 5 goals shy at the start of the match with 179 international goals.
It was evident within the first few minutes of the match that the Canadians were starting strong spending almost every minute in their offensive zone. In the 14th minute, Sophie Schmidt passed to Janine Beckie who took a shot from outside the but missed as the ball veered off to the right.
The Canadian women kept the pressure on and in the 20th minute they completed a perfect tic-tac-toe. Janine Beckie made a beautiful pass to Christine Sinclair on the left side, who then set up Jessie Fleming for a nice tap into the Mexico goal.
Mexico tried to push back and two minutes after the Canadian goal, Katty Martinez made a great shot on Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe but was unable to find the back of the net.
In the 28th minute, Janine Beckie tried to widen the lead with a strong kick from just outside the box forcing Mexican goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago to make a leaping save.
Canada kept the pressure on for the rest of the first half with 81% possession and leading the shots 10-1. But even with such lopsided stats, the score was only 1-0. Mexico was looking to correct this in the second half.
Mexico looked determined at the start of the second half with some good steals. Unfortunately for them this wasn’t a strong trend for the rest of the game.
Everyone in the stands were closely watching captain Sinclair, hoping that she would move closer to breaking the record. Christine did not want to disappoint her fans. In the 52nd minute, Janine Beckie passed it to Christine Sinclair who pushed past the Mexican defense and shot it past their goalkeeper. The stadium erupted with cheers as Sinclair is now 4 goals away.
The sound from the fans stomping their feet sounded like thunder rolling in and was foreshadowing the fate of the Mexican team.
In the 69th minute, Sinclair was awarded a free kick and was hoping to inch closer to the record. She made a hard shot to the right, but goalkeeper Santiago made an equally good save. The score remained 2-0 Canada.
Both teams were starting to sub out their players. After playing a strong 74 minutes, Christine Sinclair came off the field to a standing ovation from the entire stadium.
Canada puts the final nail in the coffin during the 82nd minute as Ashley Lawrence made a great cross pass to Adriana Leon who headed it into the goal. Canadian fans were on their feet and could see the victory in sight.
Jessie Fleming made a rare misstep, turning over the ball to Mexico and giving them an opportunity to get on the board, but Canada quickly recovers the ball and keeps the pressure on the Mexicans.
Even in extra time, Canada was still pushing forward. In the 92nd minute, Jordyn Huitema made a header from a corner kick that missed the far post by inches. These ladies were not holding back.
Finally, after 3 minutes of extra time, the referees blow their whistles ending the match and handing Canada the 3-0 victory. Team Canada can now head off to France on a high note and Canadians are cheering for them with all their might. Good luck ladies!