Sinclair scores in CanWNT win, inches closer to international goal record

The Canadian women’s team closed out 2019 on a positive note, earning a victory in their final game of the year.

Captain Christine Sinclair opened the scoring, and Janine Beckie bagged a brace to lead Canada to a 3-0 win over New Zealand on Thursday at the Four Nations Tournament in Yongchuan, China. The win came days after Canada lost 4-0 to Brazil in China.

Sinclair scored a header in the 35th minute off a cross played into the box from teammate Ashley Lawrence, and Beckie scored two goals three minutes apart in the second half to seal the win for Canada. Lawrence had two assists in the game.

The goal was Sinclair’s 183rd for Canada, and she now needs two more to break the all-time international goal-scoring record held by retired U.S. star Abby Wambach.

Beckie is now fifth in all-time scoring for Canada, with 27 goals.

Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé tied Canada’s single-season record with her eighth clean sheet of 2019.

For the second year in a row, Lawrence led Canada in minutes played — 1,305 minutes in 15 matches, 14 as a starter. She also led the team with four assists in 2019.

Olivia Smith, a 15-year-old midfielder from Whitby, Ont., earned her second cap for Canada.

“We got the result we wanted and that is very important for the confidence of the team,” coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller said.

“Scoring three goals and getting the clean sheet feels very good.”

Heiner-Møller is using this competition to prepare for the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament which is scheduled for early next year in the U.S.

Canada is seventh in the current FIFA world rankings. New Zealand is 23rd.

Canada has a record of eight wins, three draws and four losses in 14 international matches in 2019.