SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Anabelle Chukwu scored twice to help Canada open play at the CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Championship with a comfortable 4-0 win over Jamaica on Friday.
Chukwu opened the scoring in the 39th minute following a turnover from a poor Jamaican clearance. After a give-and-go with a teammate, Chukwu outpaced several defenders into the Jamaican penalty box and beat goalkeeper Liya Brooks.
Chukwu added her second in first-half stoppage time, dispossessing a Jamaican defender before beating Brooks again.
Olivia Smith made it 3-0 in the 56th minute, curling a shot home from a feed from captain Florianne Jourde. An unmarked Renee Watson padded the lead in stoppage time, making a late run into the penalty box to fire home a Nyah Rose cross.
Smith (two caps) and fellow U-20 forward Amanda Allen (one) have already played for the Canadian senior side. Chukwu and defender Ella Ottey were called into camp last year but have yet to make their senior debut.
The two teams had been slated to meet Wednesday at Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez but the game, along with the U.S.-Panama matchup in the nightcap of the Group A doubleheader, was called off due to bad weather.
"We were excited to kick off the first match after Wednesday's delay, so with these four goals and a clean sheet it's a great start," said Canada coach Cindy Tye. "I thought the team grew into the game and we were able to use our subs in order to implement a rotation strategy with three group matches in just five days."
Canada faces Panama on Sunday and the defending champion U.S. on Tuesday with the robin-robin portion of the schedule pushed back by two days. The schedule for all matches in Group B, semifinals, third-place match and final remain unchanged, according to CONCACAF.
Canada and seven other countries are fighting for CONCACAF's three berths at next year's FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.
Group B, which consists of Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and the host Dominican Republic, kicked off play Thursday.
The top two from each group advance to the knockout stage with the two finalists and the third-place match winner qualifying for the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Canada has qualified for eight of the 10 previous FIFA U-20 Women's World Cups, finishing runner-up to the U.S. in 2002 when Canada hosted the event.
Canada made it to the CONCACAF tournament by handily winning its qualifying group in the Dominican Republic last month. The Canadians defeated Martinique 15-0, St. Vincent and the Grenadines 12-0 and Cuba 4-0 before thumping previously unbeaten El Salvador 9-1.
Jamaica is making its 12th appearance at the CONCACAF championship while Panama is making its seventh trip. Neither country has ever qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2023.
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