CanWNT's queen of goals: Christine Sinclair's top 10 strikes for Canada
1. Thorn in the U.S. side from the start
In her first year playing for Canada, Sinclair scored a goal to help Les Rouges take down the mighty U.S. women's national team 3-1 in the Americans’ first loss to Canada since 1986. Canadian legend Charmaine Hooper broke away for a solo run up the middle, and was forced inside by U.S. defender Kate Sobrero (Markgraf).
Hooper sent a through pass to the 17-year-old Sinclair just inside the box, and with her back to goal, Sinclair settled, turned and struck a brilliant ball into the upper left corner of the net.
The very next time the two teams met, Sinclair struck again … and Canada won again. Despite being outshot 21-5 by a U.S. side with an average age of just 19 years, the Canadians converted three of their five shots, and with goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc making 13 saves, beat the Americans 3-0 to open the 2001 Algarve Cup. Sinclair scored the second goal off an inswinging corner kick by Isabelle Harvey, and rose high to head to ball down into the goal on a bounce.
2. Always ready to pounce
In April 2003, the U.S. was set to play Nigeria in a friendly at RFK Stadium, but the African team was forced to withdraw just days before the match due to paperwork issues. The Canadians pulled a team together at the last minute so the match could still be played (it was part of a doubleheader with a WUSA game). Although Canada ultimately lost 6-1, they scored first, thanks to an opportunistic run by Sinclair against the run of play.
3. Women’s World Cup debut
The 2003 event in the USA was Sinclair’s first World Cup at the senior level, and it took mere moments for the then-20-year-old to find the back of the net. In the fourth minute, teammate Kristina Kiss sent a lofted ball into the penalty box on a free kick, and Sinclair rose above the crowd to redirect the ball across the face of the net and beyond the reach of German 'keeper Silke Rottenberg. The Canadians lost the match 4-1, but Sinclair’s goal was the beginning of their best-ever Women’s World Cup run.
4. Finishing with heart
The Canadians reached the semifinals of the 2003 tourney, falling to Sweden 2-1. In the third-place match against their American hosts, Christine Sinclair scored off a give-and-go with Christine Latham to keep the game tied 1-1 going into halftime. Eventually the U.S. pulled ahead to win the World Cup bronze by a 3-1 scoreline, but Sinclair’s composed, varied attacking was clearly a sign of Canada’s bright future.
5. Consolation WWC goal
Sinclair captained the Canada side at the 2007 and 2011 Women’s World Cup; however, the team failed to advance to the knockout round both times. Yet Sinclair’s individual brilliance could not be denied. In the opening match versus Germany in 2011, the Canadians were down 2-0 to the hosts, but a wicked Sinclair free kick – scored against her future Thorns teammate Nadine Angerer – kept the game close in the closing minutes.