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Canada opens CONCACAF W Gold Cup play with lopsided 6-0 win over El Salvador


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Canada faces No. 50 Paraguay on Sunday and No. 43 Costa Rica on Wednesday

Published Feb 23, 2024  •  3 minute read

Canada captain Jessie Fleming (left), Cloe Lacasse and Jordyn Huitema (right) celebrate a goal in Canada's 6-0 win over El Salvador in CONCACAF W Gold Cup soccer action in Houston in this Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 handout photo. Photo by HO /THE CANADIAN PRESS

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HOUSTON — In its first game in more than two months, Canada showed some rust but also plenty of firepower in a 6-0 win over El Salvador at the inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup on Thursday.

Cloe Lacasse had a hand in Canada’s first three goals, scoring one and setting up the other two. Adriana Leon had two goals and an assist.

Jordyn Huitema, Kadeisha Buchanan and Olivia Smith also scored for Canada, which led 3-0 at the half and could have had a bigger cushion if not for errant finishing. An off-balance Lacasse played her part in the setup to Smith’s goal, the first of the 19-year-old’s senior career.

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Tenth-ranked Canada outshot No. 104 El Salvador 23-3 (10-3 in shots on target) and had 60 per cent possession in the first-ever senior meeting between the two.

“For me, you walk off frustrated and you actually need to enjoy winning more,” Canada coach Bev Priestman said with a wry smile. “Because I think we have another level in us and I need to be patient with that in terms of growing though the tournament — late arrivals and just getting some rhythm and things.

“But to get a clean sheet and have goals come across many scorers — I think five — we’ve got to be happy.”

Canada faces No. 50 Paraguay on Sunday and No. 43 Costa Rica on Wednesday, also in Houston. Paraguay edged Costa Rica 1-0 in the opening of the Group C doubleheader at Shell Energy Stadium.

Thursday’s game was played against the backdrop of a $40-million lawsuit filed this week against 15 current and former Canada Soccer board directors by the association representing the Canadian women’s team. The lawsuit alleges “negligence and breach of fiduciary duty” by the 2018 board.

Midfielder Jessie Fleming, officially appointed captain earlier this week, led the Canadians out for her 124th cap.

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Longtime skipper Christine Sinclair retired from international football in December. Thursday’s game was the first for the Canadians since Sinclair’s Dec. 5 swansong in Vancouver.

Canada wasted little time Thursday with Lacasse beating El Salvador goalkeeper Idalia Serrano in the third minute. A nice touch by Leon found Lacasse flying down the right flank and the Arsenal striker rounded past one defender and then fired a shot that deflected in off another defender.

The California-born Serrano spent four seasons at UCLA as a backup ‘keeper before switching to Utah Valley University.

Canada had chances to pull further ahead but failed to convert until the 24th minute with Lacasse playing provider. Her cross sliced through the El Salvador defence for Huitema to tap in for her 19th goal.

Lacasse also assisted on the third goal in the 28th minute after a Huitema feed put her behind the El Salvador defence. Rather than go for goal, Lacasse unselfishly passed to a wide-open Leon.

Honduran referee Melissa Borjas issued four yellow cards in the first half of a chippy game, with Canadians Shelina Zadorsky, Huitema and Gabby Carle all cautioned.

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Canada forward Nichelle Prince had to leave in the 44th minute after pulling up going after a ball. There was no immediate injury update.

Priestman went to her bench in the second half, sending on Smith, Julia Grosso, Evelyne Viens and Marie-Jasmine Alidou.

Canada upped the lead from the penalty spot after a Grosso cross hit a sliding Elaily Hernandez’s arm. With Fleming, Canada’s normal penalty-taker on the bench, Leon stepped up and buried the 59th-minute penalty for her 33rd goal.

Buchanan’s header off a Smith corner made it 5-0 in the 62nd minute. It was the defender’s fifth goal for Canada and her first since the 2019 World Cup.

Smith scored her first Canada goal with a fine strike from just outside the penalty box in the 86th minute, with a lengthy video review eventually negating the offside flag that went up.

Borjas issued six yellow cards in all, three to each team.

Canada was without the injured Sydney Collins, Jayde Riviere, Janine Beckie and Desiree Scott. Normal starters Kailen Sheridan, Vanessa Gilles and Ashley Lawrence were on the bench Thursday.

The 12-country Gold Cup runs through March 10 in Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego and Carson. The group winners, runners-ups and the two best third-place finishers will advance to the tournament’s quarterfinals.

The men’s CONCACAF Gold Cup has been held since 1991 with Canada winning in 2000.


Page 2

HOUSTON — In its first game in more than two months, Canada showed some rust but also plenty of firepower in a 6-0 win over El Salvador at the inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup on Thursday.

Cloe Lacasse had a hand in Canada’s first three goals, scoring one and setting up the other two. Adriana Leon had two goals and an assist.

Jordyn Huitema, Kadeisha Buchanan and Olivia Smith also scored for Canada, which led 3-0 at the half and could have had a bigger cushion if not for errant finishing. An off-balance Lacasse played her part in the setup to Smith’s goal, the first of the 19-year-old’s senior career.

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Tenth-ranked Canada outshot No. 104 El Salvador 23-3 (10-3 in shots on target) and had 60 per cent possession in the first-ever senior meeting between the two.

“For me, you walk off frustrated and you actually need to enjoy winning more,” Canada coach Bev Priestman said with a wry smile. “Because I think we have another level in us and I need to be patient with that in terms of growing though the tournament — late arrivals and just getting some rhythm and things.

“But to get a clean sheet and have goals come across many scorers — I think five — we’ve got to be happy.”

Canada faces No. 50 Paraguay on Sunday and No. 43 Costa Rica on Wednesday, also in Houston. Paraguay edged Costa Rica 1-0 in the opening of the Group C doubleheader at Shell Energy Stadium.

Thursday’s game was played against the backdrop of a $40-million lawsuit filed this week against 15 current and former Canada Soccer board directors by the association representing the Canadian women’s team. The lawsuit alleges “negligence and breach of fiduciary duty” by the 2018 board.

Midfielder Jessie Fleming, officially appointed captain earlier this week, led the Canadians out for her 124th cap.

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Longtime skipper Christine Sinclair retired from international football in December. Thursday’s game was the first for the Canadians since Sinclair’s Dec. 5 swansong in Vancouver.

Canada wasted little time Thursday with Lacasse beating El Salvador goalkeeper Idalia Serrano in the third minute. A nice touch by Leon found Lacasse flying down the right flank and the Arsenal striker rounded past one defender and then fired a shot that deflected in off another defender.

The California-born Serrano spent four seasons at UCLA as a backup ‘keeper before switching to Utah Valley University.

Canada had chances to pull further ahead but failed to convert until the 24th minute with Lacasse playing provider. Her cross sliced through the El Salvador defence for Huitema to tap in for her 19th goal.

Lacasse also assisted on the third goal in the 28th minute after a Huitema feed put her behind the El Salvador defence. Rather than go for goal, Lacasse unselfishly passed to a wide-open Leon.

Honduran referee Melissa Borjas issued four yellow cards in the first half of a chippy game, with Canadians Shelina Zadorsky, Huitema and Gabby Carle all cautioned.

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Canada forward Nichelle Prince had to leave in the 44th minute after pulling up going after a ball. There was no immediate injury update.

Priestman went to her bench in the second half, sending on Smith, Julia Grosso, Evelyne Viens and Marie-Jasmine Alidou.

Canada upped the lead from the penalty spot after a Grosso cross hit a sliding Elaily Hernandez’s arm. With Fleming, Canada’s normal penalty-taker on the bench, Leon stepped up and buried the 59th-minute penalty for her 33rd goal.

Buchanan’s header off a Smith corner made it 5-0 in the 62nd minute. It was the defender’s fifth goal for Canada and her first since the 2019 World Cup.

Smith scored her first Canada goal with a fine strike from just outside the penalty box in the 86th minute, with a lengthy video review eventually negating the offside flag that went up.

Borjas issued six yellow cards in all, three to each team.

Canada was without the injured Sydney Collins, Jayde Riviere, Janine Beckie and Desiree Scott. Normal starters Kailen Sheridan, Vanessa Gilles and Ashley Lawrence were on the bench Thursday.

The 12-country Gold Cup runs through March 10 in Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego and Carson. The group winners, runners-ups and the two best third-place finishers will advance to the tournament’s quarterfinals.

The men’s CONCACAF Gold Cup has been held since 1991 with Canada winning in 2000.

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