Canada sealed their progress to the Rio Olympics later this year as they won the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying semi-final. Canada defeated Costa Rica 3-1 at BBVA Compass Stadium to win through to their third straight Olympics.
It was Christine Sinclair who was the star for Canada, her brace proving the difference, going past 160 international goals in the process. Sinclair has proved a regular thorn in the side of Costa Rica in Olympic qualifying, scoring a brace every time the two sides meet.
The Canadians opened the scoring in the 17th minute as a cross from Josee Belanger sent in a cross for Sinclair. That ball bounced ahead of Sinclair, allowing her to chest the ball down, control and then slam the ball past Dinnia Diaz.
From there, Costa Rica looked to defend more solidly, keeping the match tight, in a desire to get the goal they needed. That saw the match tighten up through the first half, which kept Canada nervous as they only held a one goal lead at the break.
After seven minutes of the second half the Canadians could breathe a little easier as they had their second goal of the match. Carol Sanchez’s clearance only went as far as Sinclair who turned, hitting the ball in the air, to turn her shot in to a volley that went in, scraping the crossbar for yet another brace against Costa Rica.
Now two goals down, Costa Rica were forced to go for the match, and if not for Erin McLeod they could have been back in the match. Melissa Herrera managed an impressive strike in the 69th minute that was matched by an impressive save.
But with 21 minutes to play, Costa Rica did pull a goal back thanks, in part to Desiree Scott, who fouled Diana Saenz. That allowed Rodriguez Cedeno to step up and bury the penalty to give Las Ticas hope.
Canada sealed things in the 85th minute after some solid off the ball movement from Nichelle Prince. She ran to the right, then set up Deanne Rose, at close range, allowing her to send it home, and send Canada to Rio.