SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Canada blanked Costa Rica 3-0 Wednesday to reach the semifinals of the CONCACAF Women's Under-17 Championship and move within a win of qualifying for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The Canadians pulled ahead in the second half on goals by Jaime Perrault in the 53rd minute, Renee Watson in the 66th and Rosa Maalouf in the 70th at the Estadio Panamericano.
Canada outshot Costa Rica 19-10 (9-5 in shots on target). Maalouf, a 15-year-old forward from Ottawa, has scored 10 goals at the tournament.
The Canadians will now face the defending champion U.S. in Friday's semifinal at Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez in Santo Domingo. The U.S. downed Jamaica 4-0 to advance, outshooting the Reggae Girlz 38-2.
Fourteen different American players have scored, tying a record for a U.S. team in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifying tournament, and 15 players have recorded assists.
Mexico will take on Puerto Rico in the other semifinal. Mexico defeated the host Dominican Republic 10-0 and Puerto Rico beat El Salvador 2-0.
The Americans will pose a stiff challenge. They have won all five matches at the tournament, outscoring the opposition 53-0.
Canada has a 4-0-1 record, outscoring its opposition 23-2.
The two semifinal winners secure berths at the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India this October. The winner of the third-place match also qualifies.
The 2020 CONCACAF tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic. The U.S. dispatched Mexico 3-2 in the 2018 final.
Canada won the event in 2010, was runner-up in 2012 and 2013 and finished third in 2016 and 2018.
The Canadian women have qualified for the six previous editions of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, highlighted by a fourth-place finish in 2018 when they downed Germany 1-0 in the quarterfinals before falling 1-0 to Mexico in the semifinal. Canada lost 2-1 to New Zealand in the third-place game.
Forward Jordyn Huitema, now with Paris Saint-Germain, captained that 2018 Canadian team with Rhian Wilkinson, now in charge of the NWSL Portland Thorns, as coach.
Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand and host India have already qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Canada finished third at the recent CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Championship in the Dominican Republic, qualifying for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Costa Rica later this year in Costa Rica.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2022
The Canadian Press