Canada defeated host Jamaica 5-0 on Thursday to advance to final of the 2013 CONCACAF Under-17 Women's Championship and secure a berth in the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.
“We congratulate our team, the players and staff on a successful qualification,” said Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani.
The match was played on a hot, slick evening in Catherine Hall Stadium. Despite muggy weather, thousands of hometown supporters showed up to cheer on Jamaica, creating a sea of yellow around the stadium.
This was Jamaica’s first time reaching the semifinals and they were hoping to pull off an upset against Canada. Encouraged, perhaps, by the knowledge that tournament favourites USA had, only a few hour before, been knocked out by Mexico.
Canada, however, would not be intimidated by the hostile atmosphere. Within four minutes, forward Marie-Mychèle Métivier had the Canucks on the board, after her shot was deflected by a defender on its way towards the back of the net. This was Métivier sixth goal, making her the tournament’s leading scorer.
Canada would strike again in the 27th minute, when Emily Borgmann collected a pass from fellow attacker Marie Levasseur to guide the ball across the line.
“We knew that we had to put a few away to take the momentum of the game and quiet the crowd," said Canada’s coach Beverly Priestman.
Three minutes later, captain Jessie Fleming would make it 3-0, firing a rocket into the top of the net from outside of the 18-yard box.
While there was plenty of offence, Canada’s backline of Easther Mayi Kith, Bianca St-Georges and Whitecaps FC Girls Elite defenders Simmrin Dhaliwal and Rachel Jones deserve credit for helping to initiate wave after wave of attack. Kith was especially impressive, replacing Mika Richards who was injured in the match against the USA.
While there were fewer goals in the second half, Canada remained dominant and produced a plethora of scoring chances.
Midfielder Sarah Kinzner scored her first of the tournament in the 48th minute. Racing to collect a pass from Fleming, she out-battled her defender, stretched for the ball and directed it past Jamaica’s on-rushing keeper.
The final goal would come courtesy of Levasseur. Throughout the match the striker had been threatening and in the 70th minute she would be rewarded, beating the keeper with a long-range shot.
“I’m really happy” said Priestman following the match. “The girls stuck to our game plan and deserve the win.”
With the victory, Canada advances to face Mexico in the final of the CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship. The match will take place on Saturday at 3 p.m. PT. Regardless of the outcome, both teams will advance to the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.