Generally, I use this space to write about the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros, but there are big happenings at H-E-B Park outside of the USL side. It is the 2018 Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament Group B. The group features Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Jamaica. While Canada may be the heavy favorite, the top two teams of the group will advance to the semi-final round.
First Match Summary (Costa Rica vs. Cuba)
In the first match of the day, it hosted Costa Rica and Cuba. Costa Rica scored early and often as the game registered its first goal in the third minute of the match. Melissa Herrera scored the goal and it would be the first of eight goals for Costa Rica. A minute later, Priscilla Chinchilla scored the second goal off a rebound to make it 2-0. Costa Rica used the set-piece to pad their lead as Katherine Alvardo provided a corner kick pass to Fabiola Sanchez for the 3-0 lead. The fourth goal of the evening came off a pass, which Shirley Cruz potted in a goal off a Chinchilla feed. Cruz added her second goal as Herrera provided a pass that increased the Costa Rica advantage to 5-0.
Before the end of the half, Chinchilla scored her second goal off a Herrera feed to make it 6-0 at the break. Herrera finished with a goal and two assists.
During the second half, Cuba possessed the ball a little more than usual, but it would be a little too late. Cuba used the counter-attack which nearly provided dividends, but both their attempts were saved. Costa Rica would add two more goals by substitute Maria Barrantes, making it an 8-0 final scoreline.
Final Match Summary (Canada vs. Jamaica)
In the final match of the evening, Canada and Jamaica squared off in what became an interesting battle. Jamaica gave Canada all it could handle throughout the first half hour of the game as both sides had numerous opportunities to open the scoring. However, in the 33rd minute, Nichelle Prince pounced on a loose ball to make it 1-0 for Canada.
In the second half, Jamaica held their deficit for as long as they could and used the counter-attack to provide 2 one-on-one opportunities, but Stephanie Labbe saved both chances. Finally, in the 80th minute, Prince buried her second goal of the night off a pass from Adriana Leon to make it 2-0. Jamaica proved to be a tough out, resisting 20 shots from the Canadians.
What’s Next (Match Day 4)
Costa Rica will play Jamaica in the first match on Monday evening. The match will be key as to who can hold down the second spot. A win for Costa Rica will more than likely put them in the semi-final. A win for Jamaica will make match day 6 very interesting. The final match on Monday will feature Canada versus Cuba. Canada will want to win by a big margin in order to win the group and face the runner-up from Group A. However, a shock result from Cuba will make things very fun on the last day of group matches.
Photo Credits to Cesar Cortez of Down in the Valley Podcast