Janine Beckie nets hat trick as Canada routs Costa Rica in soccer friendly
Women's squad responds to coach's demand for more firepower
Janine Beckie scored three goals and 16-year-old Jordyn Huitema added a pair as Canada overwhelmed Costa Rica 6-0 in a lopsided soccer friendly Sunday.
Captain Christine Sinclair and teenager Jessie Fleming pulled the strings, playing provider as the Canadian women repeatedly ripped open the Costa Rican defence.
Fifth-ranked Canada had defeated No. 30 Costa Rica 3-1 on Thursday in a game that saw John Herdman's team leave a lot of goals on the table. Canada fired 41 shots and crosses at the Central Americans in Winnipeg.
Herdman wanted more ruthlessness in front of goal and the Canadians did not disappoint Sunday before a crowd of 20,628 on a hot summer day at BMO Field.
"This is an exciting group ... When I look at the future now it's crazy to think these girls can continue to play capable of multiple World Cups, multiple Olympic Games," Herdman said.
Deanne Rose also scored for Canada, which went ahead in the second minute, led 2-0 after six minutes, 3-0 after 13 and 4-0 after 21. It marked the fastest ever 3-0 start to a game by the Canadian women. The previous record was 17 minutes in an 8-0 romp over Singapore in 2008.
It was 4-0 at the half and could have been at least 7-0.
With the outcome decided so early, there was less of an impetus to press in the second half and Canada seemed to take its foot off the accelerator until Huitema took the field as Herdman emptied his bench.
Costa Rican goalkeeper Noelia Bermudez made several good second-half stops to stem the flow of goals.
But Huitema (pronounced HIGH'-tah-mah), in her fourth senior appearance, opened her national team account with goals in the 71st and 72nd minutes. The first came in a goalmouth scramble but the second was a confident strike from a player seen as a star in the making.
It's game day and my birthday! Excited to spend it at home in Toronto, playing the game I love <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/blessed?src=hash">#blessed</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/grateful?src=hash">#grateful</a> 🇨🇦⚽️❤️ <a href="https://twitter.com/CanadaSoccerEN">@CanadaSoccerEN</a> <a href="https://t.co/o9cVsiBMrU">pic.twitter.com/o9cVsiBMrU</a>—@AshleyLawrence
Sinclair, who turns 34 Monday, received a rock-star reception during her introduction for her 259th Canada match. And the love-in continued when she was substituted in the 67th minute.
Fleming, a 19-year-old with sublime vision and ball-handling skills, also got a rousing response.
Sinclair, whose international tally numbers 168, could have had scored several times on the afternoon with some special moments of skill. Instead, she shared the wealth.
The Canadians were helped early by a leaky Costa Rican defence that left acres of space for the Canadian front five of Sinclair, Beckie, Fleming, Rose and Sophie Schmidt to exploit. The five were constantly on the move, shifting the point of attack and befuddling the Costa Ricans.
As it did Thursday, Canada went ahead early. Fleming, who scored in the third minute in the first game, floated a perfect pass 40 yards to Sinclair, who beat defender Wendy Acosta and sent a low cross in.
Rose, beating two defenders, got a foot to the cross to deflect into the corner before an uncertain Bermudez could get to it.
Rebecca Quinn then found Beckie behind the defence and the Houston Dash forward curled a shot past Bermudez from just outside the penalty box in the sixth minute.
The 22-year-old Beckie, who had a frustrating night in front of goal Thursday, now has 18 goals in 34 appearances for Canada.