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Three Takeaways: The CanWNT Set Pieces Helps Them Earn Win

CanWNT Defender Shelina Zadorsky Celebrates Goal In One of CanWNT's Set Pieces

The CanWNT set pieces played a big role in the win against Costa Rica. Also, centre-back Shelina Zadorsky scored two goals as both Canada and Costa Rica now look forward to the knockout stages games of the Concacaf W Gold Cup.

CanWNT Set Pieces Earns Them Win Over Costa Rica

Set Pieces and Passes Into The Box

All of Canada’s three goals came from crosses into the box. Two of those goals came from set-pieces. This shows that even with Costa Rica’s solid defence, Canada can still go there and find goals to score.

  • Jessie Fleming delivered a fantastic cross to Jordyn Huitema in the 11-minute.
  • Shelina Zadorsky scored two goals from set-pieces as Olivia Smith and Adriana Leon got credited with assists.

There were some other chances that Canada got and almost scored. Gabrielle Carle passed the ball inside the box for Smith, but she was just a second too late to the ball. There was another corner where Canada almost scored on as well.

READ MORE: Beverly Priestman: How She Helped the CanWNT Win Gold

Beverly Priestman, after the win against Costa Rica, said this about Zadorsky (source: The Canadian Press):

“You could see the whole team celebrate the goals,” said Canada coach Beverly Priestman. “I think that’s what Shelina means to the team.”

Zadorsky has been a centre-back for this team since 2012 and has made her name with the national team. With almost 100 caps made for the national team, she deserves all the credit, this is especially true in this game against Costa Rica.

Priestman also talked about set pieces, which is something they wanted to improve on before this game began (source: John Molinaro of Sportsnet):

“We should have had more [set piece goals] up until this point. We gave it some extra work yesterday and it paid off in the game. We have to be creative. We know in major tournaments you might get two corners in a game against a very top team and those two corners are going to matter. Being more clinical in that space was a challenge we set for today,” Priestman said.

Costa Rica Gave Up Possession of the Ball in Their Own End

Costa Rica had trouble getting past their own end against Canada. This was especially true early on as Jessie Fleming and Simi Awujo made sure the Costa Ricans did not get out of their own end. It was only when Los Ticos was losing 3-0, that they had sustainable possession in Canada’s half.

Even then, they still committed turnovers in their own end as Vanessa Gilles stole the ball from Costa Rica and it resulted in a Canadian corner. This played a big role in Costa Rica only having one shot on goal against Canada.

READ MORE: The CanWNT Concacaf W Gold Cup Roster Revealed

Clean Sheets Becoming a Habit for the CanWNT

The reason why Canada won Gold in Tokyo 2020 was because of their defence. It looks like they have regained that confidence on that end leading and also in the group stage of the Concacaf W Gold Cup. This is also the sixth-straight game that Canada has kept a clean sheet, which includes the two international friendlies against Australia back in December and the one on October 31 against Brazil.

READ MORE: CanWNT World Cup Roster Analysis: Evelyne Viens on the Roster

As for this game, the Costa Ricans only had one shot on goal from Raquel “Rocky” Rodriguez and Kailen Sheridan was not really tested. There was a good defensive play by Bianca St-Georges, who cleared the ball for the Canadians. Tougher opponents like the USWNT, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico will likely put more pressure on Canada’s defence if they meet Canada in this competition.

Other Factors

READ MORE: Cloé Lacasse: A Rising Star With the CanWNT

Cloé Lacasse did not play in this game, which might have made this margin larger for Canada. Still, the CanWNT got some good experience facing pressure from Costa Rica, who went on the front-foot in the latter stages of the game.

Costa Rican’s defence was solid for the most part in this game, however, dealing with crosses or set-pieces will be something they will need to look at for future games in the Concacaf W Gold Cup. Also, congrats to Priestman, who managed her 50th game for Canada and 30th win as head coach for the national team with the win at Shell Energy Stadium.

Quarter-Finals Stage Set in the Concacaf W Gold Cup


Canada finished as the top team in the group stage of the Concacaf W Gold Cup. They will play at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles, California on March 2 at 7:00 PM ET. They will again face Costa Rica, who made the quarter-finals as the eighth-seed. This was partly due to Paraguay beating El Salvador 3-2 on Wednesday to clinch the second seed in the group and sixth seed overall. However, how Costa Rica made the eighth last seed was controversial, as it was between them and Puerto Rico. It was determined by a coin toss, and Costa Rica won the toss. This meant that La Sele qualified for the quarter-finals stage of the Concacaf W Gold Cup.

The game can be watched on OneSoccer, as well as Telus and FuboTV Inc. The winner of this game will face either the U.S. or Colombia on March 6.


Photo Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports, of a Shelina Zadorsky Headshot, on February 28, 2024.


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