2010 year in review: Canada wins second CONCACAF title

If there was a moment in 2010 that showed everything was better than alright for Canada’s women’s national team, it was a simple ball chase that captain Christine Sinclair ran in the early moments of the Canada-Mexico group match at the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifier. Sinclair had no chance of reaching the ball, but she finished her charge on Cecilia Santiago right up until the ball was secured in the hands of the Mexican goalkeeper.

If there was a moment in 2010 that showed everything was better than alright for Canada’s women’s national team, it was a simple ball chase that captain Christine Sinclair ran in the early moments of the Canada-Mexico group match at the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifier. Sinclair had no chance of reaching the ball, but she finished her charge on Cecilia Santiago right up until the ball was secured in the hands of the Mexican goalkeeper.



In the all-important finale that would determine first place in the group phase, it was that consistent attack that gave Canada the edge and kept the host on its heels for most of the 2 November match at the Estadio Beto Ávila in Cancún, Mexico. Canada won 3:0 that night, its third of five consecutive victories at the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifier.



With the rain coming down hard, Candace Chapman, Josée Bélanger and Jonelle Filigno all scored for Canada while Karina LeBlanc posted the clean sheet. Canada’s first two goals were scored with multiple players in the box, the second of which was scored after Sinclair collected a Santiago-dropped ball and passed it back to Bélanger.



It was indeed mission accomplished for Canada in 2010 as it qualified for a fifth-consecutive time to the world’s preeminent women’s sporting event – the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011. Canada captured its second confederation title at the women’s “A” level by defeating Mexico twice – first on 2 November in the group phase and then again on 8 November in the championship final.



Six-time Canadian Player of the Year Sinclair scored the winning goal in the championship match, one of three championship-winning goals that she would score on the season (two for Canada and one for club side FC Gold Pride). Canada won three international tournaments in 2010, the CONCACAF championship in November, the Cyprus Women’s Cup in March, and the Torneio Internacional in Brazil in December.



It was an incredibly successful season for Canada’s women’s national team. The team tied a national record with a 10-match undefeated streak from 30 September to 19 December. It also set a national record with its eight-match winning streak starting at home on 30 September and extending through to a 1:0 victory over Mexico on 12 December at the Torneio Internacional.



Overall, Canada posted a record of 13 wins, three draws and two losses in 18 international matches. The 13 wins tied a national record established in 2003 when Canada finished fourth at the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003 (Canada was 13-3-5). Canada scored 38 goals in 2010 and conceded just 13. The team posted clean sheets in 11 of 18 matches.



Veteran Karina LeBlanc, Canada’s only two-time CONCACAF champion, led the way with eight clean sheets, a new national record. Erin McLeod posted one clean sheet (in a match that she and LeBlanc equally shared goalkeeper duties) while the younger Stephanie Labbé posted three clean sheets.



Labbé made her first-ever start for Canada at the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifier on 31 October. When she made back-to-back starts in December 2010, she became the first goalkeeper not named LeBlanc or McLeod to make back-to-back starts for Canada since Taryn Swiatek in July 2004.



Ten different players scored for Canada in 2010, led by Sinclair who hit the back of the net 13 times in 16 matches. Sinclair has been Canada’s year-end goal-scoring leader in 10 of the last 11 seasons.



Canada’s second-best scorer was Diana Matheson, who scored five goals including the championship winner at the 2010 Cyprus Women’s World Cup on 3 March. Matheson, the vice-captain behind Sinclair, was runner-up in voting for the 2010 Canadian Players of the Year award.



As for milestones, Sinclair became Canada’s all-time leader in appearances and the world’s 10th player to reach 100 international goals. Matheson became Canada’s sixth player to reach 100 appearances while Karina LeBlanc, Rhian Wilkinson and Candace Chapman all reached 75 appearances.



National coach Carolina Morace, meanwhile, improved her two-year record to 15 wins, four draws and six losses. The team’s 1:0 victory over England on 27 February was Canada’s first against a top-10 nation since 1 November 2006. Canada also posted three draws against top-10 nations in 2010, one against Norway in June and two against Brazil in December.



Canada, whose title sponsor is Winners and whose presenting sponsor is Teck, is a two-time CONCACAF champion, having won the confederation title in 1998 and 2010. Canada has now qualified for five FIFA Women’s World Cups – Sweden 1995, USA 1999, USA 2003, China 2007 and Germany 2011. Canada has also participated in one Women’s Olympic Football Tournament (Beijing 2008).

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