Canada WNT ready for Guadalajara opener

Canada will face Costa Rica this Tuesday 18 October in the XVI Pan American Games Women’s Football Tournament opening match. The two sides will kick off at 11.00 local (12.00 ET / 09.00 PT) at Estadio Omnilife in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Canada will face Costa Rica this Tuesday 18 October in the XVI Pan American Games Women’s Football Tournament opening match. The two sides will kick off at 11.00 local (12.00 ET / 09.00 PT) at Estadio Omnilife in Guadalajara, Mexico.



Canada and Costa Rica are part of a four-team group, with matches to be played on 18, 20 and 22 October. Canada will face Argentina on 20 October and Brazil on 22 October. Teams in the opposite group are Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago.



Costa Rica will dress a young squad, with 13 of its 17 players aged 22 or younger. The team’s three youngest players were all members of Costa Rica’s U-17 team just one year ago. Seven players were members of Costa Rica’s U-20 team that competed at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Germany 2010.



Shirley Cruz is Costa Rica’s most experienced player. Cruz is one of seven players that helped Costa Rica finish fourth at last year’s CONCACAF / FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Cancún, Mexico. Also included in that group is Raquel Rodriguez Cedeño, the still-on-17-year-old striker who last year played for Costa Rica’s U-17, U-20 and national “A” teams.



As for Canada, it features only five players aged 21 or younger. Canada’s most experienced player is four-time FIFA Women’s World Cup player Karina LeBlanc. LeBlanc will share the goalkeeper duties with Canada’s second-youngest player Rachelle Beanlands. Beanlands is the only player on the Canadian squad who has yet to make her first appearance at the national “A” level.



Other veterans on the Canadian squad are Christine Sinclair, Diana Matheson, Rhian Wilkinson and Candace Chapman. The youngest player is Amélia Pietrangelo, who was a late call-in to replace injured Brittany Timko.



Tuesday will mark the eighth time that Canada faces Costa Rica at the women’s national “A” level. To date, Canada has won all seven matches, including the 4:0 victory on 5 November 2010 to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011.



Sinclair is the only player on this Canadian squad to have scored against Costa Rica in the past – four goals in five matches. (Charmaine Hooper is Canada’s leader with seven goals in five matches against Costa Rica). Shirley Cruz is the only Costa Rica player to ever score against Canada at the national “A” level. To date, Canada has outscored this opponent 22-1 in seven matches.



Costa Rica has defeated Canada twice before, but only at the youth level. Costa Rica’s two winning sides were its U-17 team in 2008 (players born 1991 or later) and its U-20 team in 2010 (players born 1990 or later). Katherine Alvarado scored in both of those Costa Rica victories. Canada still holds the advantage with a 3-0-2 record at the women’s youth level (combined record at U-20/U-17 levels).



Beyond the XVI Pan American Games Guadalajara 2011, both Canada and Costa Rica are preparing for the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament in Vancouver, BC. That eight-team competition will run 19-29 January at BC Place Stadium. Only two teams from CONCACAF will qualify for the London 2012 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament.

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