BY RAUL GARCIA
EDINBURG — Canada found itself in a deadlock against Mexico in the Group B CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying final Tuesday at H-E-B Park.
But it didn’t last.
The scoreless drought ended after the all-time world’s scoring leader, Canada’s Christine Sinclair, netted her 186th goal in the 30-minute mark off a pass from teammate Jainie Beckie to take a 1-0 lead.
Canada went on to defeat Mexico, 2-0.
“She found a way to the net, which she has done so many times,” Canada head coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller said.
Canada’s Shelina Zadorsky lifted the Reds to the 2-0 lead seconds before time expired in the 40th minute in the first period off a kick from the corner of the box that sailed into a gap between the hands of Mexico goalkeeper Emily Alvarado and the post as she dove attempting to deflect the score.
“We had a good start and we were able to close the space, close the distance, but the distance grew and allowed Canada to score,” Mexico head coach Christopher Cuellar said. “We did create a lot of opportunities, but now we are going to focus on securing the next 90 minutes.”
The next 90 minutes refers to Mexico’s next match with the No. 1 ranked United States. Mexico is ranked No. 28.
The United States finished first in the Group A final after defeating Costa Rica 6-0 on Monday.
Canada, ranked eighth, will take on No. 37 Costa Rica, the other semifinalist which competed in Houston.
The semifinals and will be played Feb. 7, and the final is on Sept. 9 in Carson, California.
The two winners of the CONCACAF semifinals punch their ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Heading into Canada’s match with Mexico, the Reds had scored 20 goals in its previous two matches.
In the first 30 minutes of the game it seemed Cuellar had found the answer to stopping the high powered Canada offensive attack.
During the 9th minute, Mexico defender Daniela Espinoza held off two Canada shots.
And in the 12th minute, Mexico defender Blanca Sierra blocked a Sinclair shot from reaching the net.
“It took us a while to get it right, but we got it right. It looked good, looked decent and overall I’m very proud of the team. It’s hard work and I’m very happy about that,” Heiner-Moller said.
Canada picked up nine points and 22 goals in convincing style at the CONCACAF Women’s Olympics Qualifier in Edinburg.
Canada defeated Saint Kitts and Nevis 11-0 in its first match, and went on to shut out Jamaica 9-0 in its second match.
Canada is 6-0 in matches at H-E-B Park after Tuesday’s game.
The Reds won their first three games in Edinburg in their 2018 World Cup qualifier.
“We are happy to be here and six for six is outstanding isn’t it,” Heiner-Moller said.