Prince scores twice as Canada opens up World Cup qualifying with 2-0 win over Jamaica
The tournament continues Sunday
Nichelle Prince in action for Canada in September. (Photo credit: Canada Soccer/Flickr)
Nichelle Prince in action for Canada in September. (Photo credit: Canada Soccer/Flickr)

Canada opened its campaign at the Concacaf Women’s Championship on Friday night with a 2-0 win over  Jamaica at H-E-B Park in Edinburg, Texas. The tournament, Concacaf’s qualifying tournament for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, takes place from October 4-17.

Canada is in second place in Group B standings with the win, behind Costa Rica, who routed Cuba 8-0 in Friday’s first game.

Houston Dash forward Nichelle Prince scored twice to give Canada the win.

Prince’s first goal came in the 33rd minute. As Jamaica tried to clear a corner kick taken by former Sky Blue FC forward Janine Beckie, Canada served the ball back into the box. The ball bounced off Jamaica defender Dominique Bond-Flasza and to Prince, who slammed it past goalkeeper Sydney Schneider with her right foot to give Canada the 1-0 lead.

Five NWSL players were in the starting lineup for Canada: Shelina Zadorsky (Orlando Pride), Allysha Chapman (Houston Dash), Rebecca Quinn (Washington Spirit), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash) and Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC). Adriana Leon (Seattle Reign FC) subbed on in the 66th minute. Utah Royals FC midfielder Diana Matheson entered in the 74th minute.

Prince scored her second goal in the 79th minute after a solid build-up through the center of the field. Matheson passed it to Leon, who flicked a pass to Prince, even with Jamaica’s backline. Prince dribbled into the box and around her defender, slotting it past Schneider for the 2-0 lead.

Sinclair came into the game sitting on 173 international goals, just 11 behind behind former U.S. women’s national team forward Abby Wambach’s all-time record of 184, but could not find the back of the net. She took six total shots, one on target.

It’s Canada’s first time in the tournament since winning it in 2010. As 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup hosts, they did not participate in the 2014 tournament.

The tournament continues Sunday with Group A action — Panama vs. Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago vs. United States. Group B continues Monday with Jamaica vs. Costa Rica and Cuba vs. Canada. [Full Schedule]

The top three teams will automatically qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. The fourth-place finisher will head to a home-and-away playoff with Argentina for a spot in next summer’s tournament.

Costa Rica 8 | Cuba 0

Costa Rica opened up their tournament with an 8-0 win over Cuba on Friday.

Costa Rica finished second at this tournament  in 2014, qualifying for their first-ever Women’s World Cup.

Shirley Cruz, Priscilla Chinchilla and María Barrantes each scored twice and Costa Rica added goals from Fabiola Sánchez and Melissa Herrera in the win.

Sky Blue FC’s Raquel Rodriguez started for Costa Rica, and played the first 58 minutes of the match. Though the score favored Costa Rica, it was a frustrating game for Rodriguez, who had four shots on goal saved by Cuba goalkeeper Katherine Montesino.

Group B continues Monday with Jamaica vs. Costa Rica and Cuba vs. Canada.

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