Canada get send-off win as Sinclair closes on goal mark
Christine Sinclair inched closer to the international goal scoring record as Canada enjoyed a perfect World Cup send-off on Saturday with a dominating 3-0 win over Mexico.
Fifth-ranked Canada head to Europe for a pre-World Cup training camp in Spain unbeaten this year while conceding just once in seven matches to underline their status as genuine challengers to lift the trophy in France.
While a Canadian win over their 26th-ranked CONCACAF rivals, who did not qualify for the World Cup, was expected, the real suspense for the flag-waving crowd of nearly 20,000 at BMO Field was seeing if Sinclair could close in on retired U.S. forward Abby Wambach’s mark of 184 career goals.
Sinclair did not disappoint, running on to a pass from Janine Beckie in the 53rd minute and chipping the ball inside the near post to putCanada 2-0 up.
The goal was Sinclair’s 181st for Canada and left the 35-year-old four shy of Wambach’s record which could now fall on the sport’s biggest stage — the World Cup.
“It would be nice, if and when it happens, I’m not going to lie,” Sinclair said. “I’m proud of the amount of goals I have scored in my national team career but heading into the World Cup it is by no means my focus.
“As soon as we get on that plane to Europe it is all about helping this team try to win the World Cup.”
Sinclair could have added to her tally, missing a glorious chance to open the scoring when Nicelle Prince sent a low cross into the box that she got her foot to but could only to stab it over the bar.
The Canadian captain did, however, figure in first goal, sending a perfect feed to Jessie Fleming who coolly slotted home.
Substitute Adrian Leon closed out the Canadian scoring in the 83rd minute, rising to head home a cross from Ashley Lawrence.
The World Cup runs from June 7 to July 7 with Canada starting in Montpellier on June 10 against Cameroon.
“I think we showed the depth of the squad today and also some of the key players, Christine being one,” said coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller.
“If we just had the 11 and then nothing we would be in trouble but we have some players who can come on the pitch and have a big impact and that is a big advantage.”
REUTERS/Editing by Ed Osmond