A 4-2 win for the U-17s over Haiti in the third-place game of the CONCACAF Championships wrapped up what could be called a banner week for Canadian women’s soccer.
With Sunday’s victory, Canada secured the third and final CONCACAF slot in the upcoming U-17 Women’s World Cup, to be played in Jordan. As most 4-2 games go, there wasn’t any scoring until the 55th minute (!) — when sub Lauren Raimondo scored the first of her two on the day. Vital Kats and Shana Flynn got the other markers for Canada, who built a 4-0 lead before Haiti’s one-woman gang, Nerilia Mondesir, scored a late brace.
For the Canadians, the win helps soothe the sting of the 5-0 blasting they received from the Americans in the semis. It would be easy to obsess about a 5-0 thrashing but, in truth, at the U17 level, it’s a lot harder to read into extreme score lines. We have to remember that, for a lot of players, this will be one of their first real tastes of international competition, and we can see some rapid swings in a team’s form.
The Canadians lost 2-1 to Haiti in the round robin — a result which forced them into that semifinal against the Americans — but rebounded well, outshooting the Haitians 24-6 in the third-place match.
The win comes days after Canada’s senior women’s team clinched top spot at the Algarve Cup with a 2-1 win over Brazil. Despite losing their opening game of the tournament to Denmark, Canada came back with three straight wins, allowing just Cristiane’s injury-time consolation marker in the final. Shelina Zadorsky’s backheel-off-a-corner-into-the-turf-and-then-bouncing-up-into-the-top-corner-just-like-we-drew-it-up marker got the Canadians the lead, and Janine Beckie provided the insurance when she pounced on a mishit pass from the Brazilians and went alone on goal.