THE CANADIAN PRESS
LARNAKA, Cyprus — Christine Sinclair reached a pair of milestones as Canada’s women’s national team opened the 2010 season with a 3-0 win over Poland in a friendly on Saturday.
Sinclair made her 133rd appearance to pass current assistant coach Andrea Neil for the all-time national record. She also scored her 100th goal, making her just the 10th international player to reach the century mark.
"The career appearances record is a testament to the women’s program in Canada," said Sinclair. "The number of matches the team has been able to play over the past few years has provided me with the opportunity to reach 133."
Kelly Parker scored her first goal and Diana Matheson added her third in a dominant first half from Canada.
The friendly match was the first test of Canada’s 18-day camp in Cyprus, which also includes the 2010 Cyprus Women’s Cup.
Erin McLeod and Karina LeBlanc shared the clean sheet in the Canadian goal.
Sinclair’s marker came in the 25th minute. Brittany Timko delivered a cross into the box which Sinclair controlled before drilling a shot past the helpless Polish goalkeeper.
The veteran turned provider in the 41st minute when her bouncing cross was chipped into the net by Parker to double Canada’s lead. It was Parker’s first international goal for Canada in her seventh appearance for the red and white.
A rampant Canada added a third goal before half time on a fine individual effort from midfielder Matheson. Matheson picked up the ball in the centre of the pitch just outside the Polish box, darted around one defender and jinxed past another before calmly placing her shot beyond the diving goalkeeper.
"I was very pleased with the match today," said national head coach Carolina Morace. "We saw very good movement from our players. We used a new tactical formation and I thought the players reacted very well to our changes. This team has evolved very positively in the past year."
Canada will now shift its attention to the Cyprus Women’s Cup, where they will face Switzerland on Wednesday, England on Friday, and South Africa on March 1. Canada won the 2008 Cyprus Cup on its inaugural participation and finished second last year.
Sinclair, in her 10th season with the national team, already owned the record for career starts and career minutes played. She made her debut on March 12, 2000 in an 4-0 loss to China at the Algarve Cup. Just two days later, she scored her first goal against Norway.
"It is all about my teammates," said Sinclair of the 100 mark. "I have been very fortunate to play with some excellent players who have provided me the opportunity to score goals."
Sinclair follows USA’s Mia Hamm (158), USA’s Kristine Lilly (129), Germany’s Birgit Prinz (125), Scotland’s Julie Fleeting (107), Italy’s Elisabetta Vignotta (107), USA’s Michelle Akers (105), Italy’s Carolina Morace (105), USA’s Abby Wambach (101), and USA’s Tiffeny Millbret (100). Wambach was the most recent player to reach the century mark, doing so last year with a goal against Canada on July 19.
Like Sinclair, Prinz, Fleeting, Wambach and Millbret are still active. Also of note, Sinclair trails Morace by just five goals on the world football list.
"We have been looking forward to this moment for some time," said Morace. "We had been very careful not to speak to her about it before the game. We are very excited and proud of her accomplishment."
Canada is preparing for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011. Canada’s qualification tournament – the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup – will take place later this year.
THE CANADIAN PRESS