January 20, 2012
Canada has eyes set on second win
By HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency
VANCOUVER - Fresh off a dominant 6-0 victory and a stellar showing by Christine Sinclair Thursday, Canada has their eyes set on win No. 2.
The women's national soccer team play their second game of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET against Cuba, a team reeling from a 2-0 loss to Costa Rica. But for the hosts, they'll be facing a somewhat unfamiliar squad and the lowest-ranked nation (96th) in the eight-team tournament.
"We hadn't had any information on (Cuba)," said Canadian coach John Herdman. "So just to get a look at them (Thursday night), they had a couple dangerous plays so that was good info. I think it's another one of them games where it'll go one or two ways. It'll be a frustrater and we can't really break them down or we get into a rhythm and they won't be able to stop us. So we're hoping for the latter."
Canada, ranked seventh in the world, will sport a fairly different lineup against Cuba, according to Herdman. That's to allow certain players to rest — with a couple players already bumped and bruised — and for others to experience competing in front of the BC Place crowd.
"The important thing for us is that everyone gets a chance to play in these games and everyone gets a chance to play in front of the home nation," Herdman said. "It'll be a different team."
Having never qualified for the Olympics, Cuba is led by attacker Yezenia Gallardo, who is the all-time leading WOQ scorer with 15 goals. Meanwhile, Canada's Sinclair, who scored four goals against Haiti on Thursday, now has 10 all-time in the Olympic qualifiers.
The captain said after the win that sticking to their game is key in beating the Cuban side.
"Going up against Cuba, we'll obviously scout them and their first game," she said. "If we play like we did (Thursday) and finish our chances, we'll be fine."
Herdman, though, wants to see Canada tidy up their play a bit more moving forward.
"We had a few chances there, probably could have put a couple more into the back of the net," he said. "It's a restless mind in this environment and the players know they have to work a little bit harder and that's just part of what we do."