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Canadian women to open inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup campaign against El Salvador

Canada Jordyn Huitema Jordyn Huitema - The Canadian Press

Canada will open the CONCACAF W Cup against El Salvador, which made the inaugural tournament's 12-team main field by beating Guatemala 3-1 in a qualifying match.

Saturday night's win at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., moved No. 104 El Salvador into Group C with No. 10 Canada, No. 43 Costa Rica and No. 50 Paraguay.

Brenda Ceren scored all three goals for El Salvador against No. 80 Guatemala, which was reduced to 10 players after video review changed a yellow card against Guatemala midfielder Savianna Gomez to red in the 36th minute.

Canada will open play Thursday against El Salvador before facing Paraguay on Feb. 25 and Costa Rica on Feb. 28, with all three games at Houston's Shell Energy Stadium. The Canadian men played two games at the same venue in July at the Gold Cup.

In earlier qualifying play Saturday in Carson, No. 103 Puerto Rico edged No. 51 Haiti 1-0 and the 107th-ranked Dominican Republic defeated No. 87 Guyana 1-0.

The Dominican joins the second-ranked Americans, No. 31 Argentina, No. 35 Mexico in Group A while Puerto Rico moves into Group B with No. 11 Brazil, No. 23 Colombia and No. 55 Panama.

The group winners, runners-ups and the two best third-place finishers will advance to the tournament's quarterfinals.

The Canadian women have never faced El Salvador or Paraguay at the senior level.

Paraguay finished fourth in the 2022 Women's Copa America, beaten 2-0 by Brazil in the semifinal and 2-1 by Argentina in the third-place match.

The Canadian women have won all 15 previous meetings with Costa Rica, with a combined 48-6 edge in goals.

The Gold Cup runs through March 10 in Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego and Carson.

Group A will play in Carson with Group B in San Diego.

The knockout stage will start with the quarterfinals at Los Angeles' BMO Stadium on March 2 and 3, followed by the semifinals and final at San Diego's Snapdragon Stadium on March 6 and 10, respectively.

The Americans qualified by edging Canada 1-0 in the final of the CONCACAF W Championship in July 2022 in Mexico. Canada secured its spot by defeating Jamaica 4-1 on aggregate in last September's Olympic qualifying playoff.

Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay are the four top teams from the 2022 Women's Copa America. Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama qualified for the tournament's main draw by winning their League A groups in Road to W Gold Cup play between September and October.

The men's CONCACAF Gold Cup has been held since 1991 with Canada winning in 2000.

CONCACAF covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.


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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2024.