The Canadian women got two goals each from Jenna Richardson and Christabel Oduro as they easily dispatched the host Panamanians by a 6-0 count in the semifinals of the CONCACAF women’s U-20 Championship.
Both finalists are guaranteed spots in Japan. Canada will face the Americans in the final this weekend, as the U.S. beat Mexico 2-0 in the other semifinal.
But, both Canada and the U.S. are going to Japan. The other CONCACAF spot will go to the winner of the third-place game between Mexico and Panama.
Today’s result was set up by Canada’s massive win over Mexico in their final group-stage game. By beating Mexico, the Canadians ensured that, as group winners, they’d avoid the United States in the semifinals. The Americans won the other qualifying group.
By beating Mexico, the Canadian set up a semifinal date with Panama, which, despite being the host of the tournament, was a much easier opponent than the Americans would have been. And, the semifinal went as expected.
Nkem Ezurike, who scored two goals in the opening-game 5-0 win over Haiti, gave the Canadians the early lead over Panama. The University of Michigan forward was in the right place at the right time as she deflected a ball into goal.
Canada took a 1-0 lead into half time, but both Richardson and Oduro scored within five minutes of the second half kickoff to give Canada an unassailable lead.
Jaclyn Sawicki, who got off the initial attempt on goal that Ezurike deflected in for the opening goal, got the sixth and final goal of the game.
Keeper Sabrina D’Angelo posted her fourth straight clean sheet of the tourney.
Canada faces the Americans in the tournament final. But, just as the Canadian women did in Olympic qualifying, the U-20s go into the match knowing the mission has already been accomplished.