HOUSTON, Texas -- A comfortable start to Olympic qualifying for Canada’s women’s soccer team went pretty much as expected Thursday night.
In a 5-0 romp over Guyana, Canada got a hat trick from Ashley Lawrence and two more from 16-year-old Deanne Rose. But it’s not like Guyana was ever going to come close to troubling the Canadians, so it’s a bit early to assess where they stand.
“We didn’t really see that attacking threat from Guyana. They committed maybe one or two players forward on the counter,” said head coach John Herdman.
The kids are all right on #CanWNT. Ashley Lawrence and Deanne Rose lead attack in 5-0 domination of Guyana in Olympic qualifying.
— Neil Davidson (@NeilMDavidson) February 12, 2016
Canada will get something of a sterner test against Trinidad on Sunday (4 p.m. Eastern, CBC) in their second game of a group stage where they should come away with three victories.
Guyana managed to clog the penalty area to close down Canada’s creativity. While Canada did find space on the wings, their crossing wasn’t quite up to snuff as they couldn’t find the players they were looking for. It did get better as the game wore on and should put Canada in good stead heading into Sunday.
“Some of the quality of the crosses were a bit overcooked,” said Herdman. “Some of the players were maybe a little bit rusty so if we can work on that, I think coming up against Trinidad we’ll get a few more goals off the crosses.”
The only thing surprising to Rose about that game?
"That we didn't get more."
Good place to leave it for tonight, me thinks. #canWNT
— Laura Armstrong (@lauraarmy) February 12, 2016
Sinclair not bothered with quest to move ahead of Hamm
Christine Sinclair is still just one goal away from moving ahead of Mia Hamm and into second place all by herself on the all-time international goal-scoring charts.
Despite being asked a few times about breaking Hamm’s mark, she's focused elsewhere with an Olympics on the line.
Despite a few chances on Thursday night against Guyana, Sinclair remains at 158 goals. As she’s shown over the years, the goal scoring is nice but what matters most to her is that the team succeeds.
She’s already answered a few questions about it in Houston but each time, just shrugs it off.
“It would have been nice to get it tonight but it’ll come,” Sinclair said after the game Thursday night. “It’ll come when it’s meant to come then we can talk about it.”
Abby Wambach’s 184 goals is the all-time leading mark for both men and women and would be very tough for Sinclair to match.
Montagliani chases CONCACAF top job
The week started off with Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani announcing in an e-mail that he was after the vacant CONCACAF President position.
The organization has been without someone in charge since Honduran Alfredo Hawit was rounded up in the latest dragnet catching allegedly corrupt FIFA officials, after Hawit had taken over for the arrested Jeffrey Webb.
We’ve suggested before in this space that Montagliani would be a candidate that could gain some appeal as he’s not been involved in any of the sleazy business that has gone on in the game in the CONCACAF region and FIFA as a whole.
Canada FA president @VicMontagliani announces candidacy for CONCACAFpresident. Confederation has been without 1 since Alfredo Hawit arrested
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) February 8, 2016
Central American countries seem to agree as they moved swiftly to throw the support of their seven members behind Montagliani.
As is always the case in CONCACAF, though, Montagliani’s fate will be decided by the Caribbean bloc of nations that vastly outnumbers Central and North America in the region's one-nation, one-vote system.
The Caribbean nations are yet to meet to plan how they’ll be moving forward but if they settle on one candidate, it will be impossible for anyone else to get the votes needed to overcome that voting bloc.
Guyana’s Mark Rodrigues, who’s coaching the women’s team at the Olympic Qualifying tournament here, has declared for the job. The other candidates at the moment are Bermuda’s Larry Mussenden and Caribbean Football Union president Gordon Derrick.
The new president will be selected May 12.
Toronto FC to benefit from healthy Will Johnson
After Canada’s men’s national team lost 1-0 to the United States last Friday, midfielder Will Johnson linked up with his new mates at Toronto FC as they were wrapping up the western swing of their pre-season preparations.
With a team that boasts an improved back line along with the immensely talented Seba Giovinco and the steel of Michael Bradley, Toronto has added Johnson, a player known for being a consummate professional with miles of heart.
What’s more, Toronto has added Johnson who’s finally fully healthy and fit.
“It feels great,” Johnson said after the game last week.
Johnson, of course, came back from a horrific leg break suffered at BMO Field in Toronto in 2014 and had a long term recovery before coming back last season. But after catching up to regain fitness as the season wore on, it’s all different now as he has a clean bill of health at the start of a season.
“You take it for granted after you go through that an rehab. And it’s nice not to have to play catch-up and miss the pre-season. So I’m fit, I’m ready to go and I’m excited.”
Now that he’s back up to shape, having a player with that kind of character and work rate will be a very valuable addition in Toronto this season.