HOUSTON – Christine Sinclair scored her 159th career goal, passing American Mia Hamm for second on the women’s career list, and Canada defeated Trinidad and Tobago 6-0 on Sunday in a group stage match of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.
Sinclair, who came in as a substitute in the 61st minute, scored two minutes later for Canada, which secured a spot in the semifinals of the tournament for the North and Central America and Caribbean regions. The winners of the semifinals will earn Olympic berths.
The top all-time scorer is recently retired U.S. forward Abby Wambach with 184 goals. Hamm finished her career with 158.
Canada went up 2-0 in the first half following Diana Matheson’s goal in the 24th minute and Melissa Tancredi’s header off a cross from Ashley Lawrence in the 44th.
Kadeisha Buchanan, Janine Beckie and Jessie Fleming all added goals after Sinclair.
“It’s a huge honour,” Sinclair said. “It’s something that I didn’t think would ever happen when I started with the national team. It’s pretty cool.”
Canada is one of the favourites in the tournament, playing in a group that includes Guyana and Guatemala. The top-ranked U.S. women’s national team is in the opposite group and it has secured a spot in the semifinals with two wins.
Ranked No. 11 in the world, Canada was the bronze medallist at the 2012 London Games, defeating France 1-0.
Canada, which hosted the Women’s World Cup last summer, was eliminated by upstart England quarterfinals. The U.S. women won the event.
Sinclair was listed as a substitute after she left the opener in the final minutes because of a calf cramp after putting up two assists. Sinclair’s calf was taped when she came in the match against Trinidad.
Sinclair played for the University of Portland, where she won two NCAA titles, and currently is on the roster for the NWSL’s Portland Thorns.
Guyana pulled off a surprise 2-1 victory over Guatemala earlier Sunday.
© 2016 The Canadian Press