ANALYSIS – In what was a memorable game for Canadian soccer, the CanWNT clinches an Olympic berth at BMO Field. Credit to Jamaica, who went out fighting, but the Canadians generated the majority of the scoring chances and were able to get turnovers in key areas of the park. Canada won this game 2-1 and the overall aggregate 4-1 after winning 2-0 at Independence Park in Jamaica on Friday.
The CanWNT Clinches Olympic Berth on Tuesday Night
Full Game Summary:#CanWNT had the majority of the scoring chances.
The #ForCanada team responded well to conceding the first goal of the game.
— Last Word on Soccer (@LastWordSC) September 27, 2023
The Canadians Responded From Giving up the First Goal
It was a wonderful strike from Drew Spence, who was able to beat Kailen Sheridan and scored the first goal of the game It was the response though from the Canadians that was even more impressive. In a span of five minutes since Jamaica scored, this happened:
- Ashley Lawrence almost scored but hit the crossbar and was saved by Becker Spencer
- Adriana Leon’s dangerous cross was cleared by both Deneisha Blackwood and Atlanta Primus out of harm’s way.
- Cloé Lacasse made a pass to Vanessa Gilles deep in the box, but the pass was blocked by the Jamaicans.
What a response from the #CanWNT!
Moments after Ashley Lawrence rattled the crossbar, much to the disbelief of Bev Priestman, Cloé Lacasse nods home an Adriana Leon corner to make it 3-1 on aggregate
— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) September 26, 2023
Canada would then get their goal in the 39-minute, when Lacasse got a fantastic cross following a corner from Adriana Leon to tie the game. Beverly Priestman talked about what it meant to face adversity and to face it against the Jamaicans:
“That moment happened to us. You know, it happened to us not too long ago. And I think, again, we talked about when the temperature gets hot versus how do you move the needle and get it back to being calm again. And that was a bit of a growth moment, you’re looking at the World Cup, I felt that we in those moments, it got to us for some reason. And you know, I could look at 100 reasons why but regardless, we put attention on, you know, the bounce back of that moment, not letting it rock us and I thought the group, inexperienced and experienced handle it really, really well.”
CanWNT Dominated the Scoring Chances
The Canadian women’s soccer team had nine shots on goal. This included some clear-cut chances for Christine Sinclair. Other examples include:
- Leon being in a dangerous area of the field, but was not able to deliver the final pass correctly.
- Olivia Smith had a shot on target, which was stopped by the Reggae Girlz goalkeeper, Rebecca Spencer.
50’ The #CanWNT adds another! Jordyn Huitema makes the most of Ashley Lawrence’s cross and the Canadian team now has a three-goal aggregate lead! #OneSoccer#CANvJAM | 2-1 (4-1) | #Paris2024 pic.twitter.com/OAmviQwMEG
— Raheem (@bashirra) September 27, 2023
There was of course the goal set-up by Ashley Lawrence for Jordyn Huitema, who made no mistake about it and sealed the deal for the Canadian women’s soccer team.
The CanWNT’s Defence Stepped Up
The Canadian women’s soccer team, once again, stepped up defensively when it was needed. The Jamaicans only had two shots on goal. A big reason for that was the Jamaicans inability to often get inside Canada’s box too often. These examples included:
- Jade Rose and Vanessa Gilles made a trailing run to prevent the Jamaican players from advancing.
- The Canadian women’s soccer team generally made the right tackle at the right time, making sure that the Reggae Girlz never felt too comfortable in open play with the ball like with Shelina Zadorsky’s tackle that conceded a corner to Jamaica.
The Jamaican team only had two shots on goal, and even the goal scored came from a free-kick set-piece. The CanWNT are getting better with their defensive shape compared to where they were in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Other Factors: Attendance and CanWNT’s Ability to Stealing the Ball
Attendance at BMO tonight: 29,212
The largest crowd ever for Canada Soccer’s National Teams in the province of Ontario — men or women — eclipsing the mark set last March when the Men’s National Team qualified for the FIFA World Cup on 27 March 2022. #CANWNT pic.twitter.com/3DfdxPSRdW
— Paulo Senra (@paulosenra) September 27, 2023
A record attendance in Ontario for either the CanWNT or the CanMNT happened on Tuesday night at BMO Field. It was even more than the remarkable 4-0 win that helped the CanMNT qualify for the FIFA World Cup (men’s). This is what defender Zadorsky for Canada said about the crowd:
“Playing in Toronto is like one of my favorite things to do. And I’ve just been really blessed to be in Canada and play here again, with our fans and our energy. And yeah, just our identity as a nation to be surrounded by it is so special.”
The Canadians also showed a tenacity to steal the ball in key areas of the park. Some examples include:
- Jordyn Huitema stealing the ball.
- Lacasse for Canada also stealing the ball.
Overall, it was a gritty performance and one that the Canadians should remember proudly. There will be three big moments now with the national teams that will forever be linked to Canada Soccer. One was Alphonso Davies’ wonder goal against Panama and the game that clinched a World Cup berth for Canada. If extending it to Hamilton, there was also that memorable game that the CanMNT had when they defeated the USMNT.
This CanWNT game was the first time the Canadian women’s soccer team played at BMO Field since last year, where they drew in a scoreless draw against the South Koreans.
Jamaica’s Perspective and What Is Coming up for Both Teams
The Jamaicans standard for their women’s soccer team has really improved, as they made the Round of 16 of the FIFA Women’s World Cup this year. This is what the Reggae Girlz head coach, Lorne Donaldson, said this about the Concacaf W Gold Cup qualifying and what the Concacaf W Gold Cup coming up means for the Concacaf region.
“Yeah, I think the Gold Cup is actually a fantastic tournament for this region. Now we can play you know, South American teams. And if you want to, I mean, if we say say Mexico or Canada, whatever it is, things are going to be like this. And you know, it would be good for women’s football. So we started getting games consistently like this, not friendlies, but meaningful games. So I think it’s good for this region.”
Jamaica have opened the scoring at BMO Field, as Drew Spence finds the top corner with an inch-perfect free-kick
Canada now only leads 2-1 on aggregate
— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) September 26, 2023
Donaldson also said that the program has come a long way as he said this:
“I remember, in 2020, Canada beat this team in the Olympic qualifiers 9-0,” Donaldson said. “So we’re talking about right now, Canada is the Olympic champion. So we have to also put everything in context. We just played the Olympic champions tonight and it was a good game, a close game.”
Both teams now go their different ways, Canada goes to Paris 2024 and will also play in the first-ever Concacaf W Gold Cup. This is while Jamaica will continue their Concacaf W Gold Cup qualification campaign in order to try and qualify for the Gold Cup.