Story by Richard Scott
Canada scored five goals to kick off their British Columbia series as they beat Australia on Friday night at Langford’s Starlight Stadium. It was the first of two international matches between the two nations in early December with a Tuesday night friendly up next at Christine Sinclair Place in Vancouver.
Nichelle Prince (two), Cloé Lacasse, Simi Awujo and Adriana Leon were the goalscorers while both Sinclair and Sophie Schmidt made what will likely be the second-last matches of their international careers. Prince earned Performance of the Match honours, Latifah Abdu made her international debut, and goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan posted her 20th career clean sheet.
“Overall we can celebrate the clean sheet and we can celebrate the five goals, but I think that we’re going into a tough test on Tuesday night, so we need to stay humble and get ready,” said Bev Priestman, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team Head Coach. “We will be facing a tougher Australia side on Tuesday night.”
With 6,102 in attendance, it was Vancouver Island’s largest crowd for a Women’s National Team match and in fact the largest crowd ever at Starlight Stadium. It also marked the fourth Canada home sell out in a row across friendly matches in Toronto, Montréal, Halifax and Langford.
“It’s been unbelievable to be at home and that’s what makes this team tick,” said Priestman. “Seeing that interaction between the players and fans, that’s the reason our players do what they do. To get this run of home matches has been really, really special and it will set us up for 2024.”
Canada’s Tuesday match will be broadcast on both OneSoccer and TSN (22.00 ET / 19.00 PT), with the OneSoccer broadcast available as a linear channel on Telus’ Optik TV (Channel 980) as well as online at OneSoccer.ca, through the OneSoccer app and on the fuboTV Canada platform. Fans will find extended coverage for the matches across Canada Soccer’s digital channels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube featuring the hashtag #CANWNT.
In the Friday night win, Nichelle Prince opened the scoring after an interception and then made it 2-0 from a wonderful cross from Ashley Lawrence. Lacasse then made it 3-0 early in the second half after a similar interception, then Awujo scored her first international goal after she controlled a poor clearance from the Australian backline. Leon scored the last goal on a relay of headers after Jade Rose’s initial cross was pushed away by Teagan Micah, but headed back into the goal area from Sydney Collins to Leon for the headed goal.
“It was nice to get a couple of goals and for the team to get (five) goals, so it was a fun way to start the window,” said Prince after the match. “We definitely want to send Sinc and Soph off in a great way and make sure it is a fun window.”
Both Sinclair and Schmidt were added to the lineup in the second half, with Sinclair making her 330th career appearance and Schmidt making her 225th appearance (ranked first and second all time with Canada). Abdu made her first appearance coming in alongside Sinclair.
With the Friday win, Canada improved their 2023 international record to six wins and one draw in 12 matches, including three wins at home in Toronto, Halifax and Langford. Across their careers, Sinclair has now been on the pitch for 176 Canada wins while Schmidt has been on the pitch for 124 Canada wins.