Canadian WNT dominates Trinidad and Tobago in CONCACAF W Championship opener
Grosso scores twice, Sinclair notches international goal No. 190 in 6-0 victory
A slow start turned into a goal rush Tuesday night as Canada blanked Trinidad and Tobago 6-0 to open play at the CONCACAF W Championship in Guadalupe, Mexico.
Canada, the defending Olympic champion, is ranked sixth in the world compared to No. 76 for Trinidad.
Despite dominating play, Canada held a slim 1-0 lead two-thirds of the way through the match on captain Christine Sinclair's 190th international goal. Determined Trinidad defending and some errant finishing made for Canadian frustration.
Watch Friday's game against Panama live on OneSoccer at 10 p.m. ET or on rebroadcast on CBC TV and CBC Gem at 12:30 a.m. local time. Watch Monday's game against Costa Rica live on CBC TV, CBC Gem and OneSoccer at 6:30 p.m. ET
But five goals in the final 23 minutes — with four in the last 11 minutes — changed the storyline completely.
The eight-team tournament, which runs through July 18, serves as the qualifier in North and Central America and the Caribbean for both the 2023 Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Previously World Cup and Olympic qualifying were separate in the region.
WATCH | Julia Grosso scores a pair to lead way for Canada:
Canada, whose lack of scoring has been an issue of late, outshot Trinidad 27-1 (9-1 in shots on target) and had 61 per cent possession, according to CONCACAF.
Canada had scored just six goals in its previous six matches this year while going 2-1-3.
"I'm really pleased with six goals and a clean sheet. It's nothing to be scoffed at," Priestman added. "And it wasn't perfect. I was frustrated at times. The players were [frustrated]. But that will come and the confidence will come. And we've just got to keep rolling."
WATCH | Sinclair scores 190th international goal in Canada's win:
After Sinclair opened the scoring in the 27th minute with a majestic header, Canada endured a drought in front of goal before Grosso, from a nice setup by substitute Huitema, scored on a low left-footed shot in the 67th minute.
Grosso, a 21-year-old midfielder who plays in Italy for Juventus, struck again in the 79th after Trinidad failed to clear a cross. The ball went to Grosso who shifted it to her right foot to get past a defender before firing it home.
It was one-way traffic on the night and Canada could have gone into halftime up 8-0 but instead walked off the field at 1-0.
Canada had 60 per cent possession in the first 45 minutes and outshot Trinidad 16-0 (7-0 in shots on target).
Canada controlled the game from the get-go and came close to going ahead in the 16th minute when Sinclair, in her 311th national team appearance, hit the goalpost after a nice buildup by Deanne Rose and Beckie.
Trinidad's defence held fast early but its clearing attempts invariably found a Canadian, usually in the Trinidad end, and the attack started again.
Eleven of Sinclair's world-record goals total have come at the CONCACAF championship.
Sinclair was chopped down in the 29th minute, prompting Mexican referee Katia Garcia to go to a pitchside monitor to review the play before pointing to the penalty spot. Fleming stepped up but missed, firing high in the 34th.
Canada appealed unsuccessfully for another penalty when Beckie went down in the 37th minute. Forbes reached high to deny Rose's high, hard shot in the 45th minute.
Beckie scored in first-half stoppage time, on an unselfish feed from Sinclair, but the offside flag went up.
Priestman said she told the team at the break to "take the handbrake off" and express themselves.
"Sometimes we stick to a script too much," the coach said.
Looking to inject some energy, Priestman made a quadruple change with Grosso, Huitema, Allysha Chapman and Adriana Leon coming on with 30 minutes remaining.
More results, qualification for upcoming events
Canada and Trinidad are playing in Pool B, along with No. 37 Costa Rica and No. 57 Panama. Group A consists of the top-ranked U.S., No. 26 Mexico, No. 51 Jamaica and No. 60 Haiti.
Costa Rica blanked Panama 3-0 in the earlier game Tuesday at Estadio BBVA in Guadalupe, located in a suburb of Monterrey. The 51,000-seat stadium is home to Monterrey CF.
Canada takes on Panama on Thursday in Monterrey's Estado Universitaro.
The top two teams from each of the two groups move on to the semifinals, qualifying directly for the 2023 World Cup. The two third-place teams move on to a World Cup intercontinental playoff.
The CONCACAF W champion qualifies for both the 2024 Olympics and the inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup, also slated for 2024. The runner-up and third-place team will meet in a CONCACAF Olympic playoff, scheduled for September 2023, with the winner booking its ticket to the 2024 Olympics and Gold Cup.
The Canadian women have won all nine meetings with Trinidad and Tobago, outscoring the Soca Warriors 40-0. Canada also won 6-0 the last time they met, at the 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship in Houston.
Canada has won the CONCACAF championship twice (1998 and 2010) and was runner-up five times (1991, 1994, 2002, 2006 and 2018). It came into the match with a 29 9-1 record at the tournament.
Trinidad's best finish was a third in 1991. Before Tuesday, its career record at the tournament was 7-21-5.