Canada's Christine Sinclair (foreground) and Melissa Tancredi celebrate Friday's win.VANCOUVER, B.C.—It can be an odd moment when a game is summed up not by the first goal and not by the winning goal, but by a so-called "insurance" goal. It's even more odd when that's a goal that arose not from a singular effort, but rather a remarkable pairing between two separate players. Yet, that was the case with Canada's 3-1 win over Mexico Friday night, which earned them a berth in the 2012 London Olympics. The victory was defined by the Canadians' third goal in the 76th minute, and that goal in turn was dictated by an incredible, almost-telepathic link between two long-time Canadian players, Melissa Tancredi and Christine Sinclair.
"They've got a little bit of a connection, don't they?" Canadian coach John Herdman said afterwards. "Tanc and Sinc, there's something about what they've got, playing together for so long."
Friday night, that connection manifested itself with an incredible moment. The Canadians received individual goals from Sinclair and Tancredi in the 15th and 23rd minutes, but it was the combination of the two players that proved truly special. Following Tancredi's goal, Canada seemed to have the game well in hand, but Mexico stormed out after the halftime break. The Mexicans forced several incredible saves from Canadian keeper Karina LeBlanc, and Veronica Perez finally drove one home in the 67th minute when a LeBlanc punch off a corner fell to her. With Mexico mounting further pressure, the game and Canada's Olympic berth seemed very much in question until Tancredi and Sinclair teamed up. In the 76th minute, Tancredi collected the ball just on the Mexican side of the halfway line, spun and booted a long ball into the box for Sinclair without much of a look. Sinclair somehow raced past her defender to exactly where the ball arrived, then flicked it up over Mexican keeper Cecilia Santiago and into the back of the net, sealing the Canadian victory.
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