Whitby soccer star leads Canada into CONCACAF U20 semi-final vs Mexico Friday

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Published June 1, 2023 at 8:20 am

Olivia Smith #10, scorer of two goals against Panama, celebrates with her teammates at the Felix Sánchez Olympic Stadium in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on May 28, 2023. (PHOTO BY VICTOR STRAFFON/STRAFFON IMAGEs

Whitby’s Olivia Smith will hope to continue her goal scoring exploits at the CONCACAF U20 championships Friday when her Canadian squad meets unbeaten Mexico in the tournament semi-final.

To the winner goes a spot in the final on Sunday, as well as a spot in next year’s U20 World Cup, while the loser will get a second chance in the third-place match, also on Sunday. Three teams from CONCACAF qualify for the 2024 U20 World Cup.

Smith scored once in the opening game of the tournament, held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, as Canada, with a cracker of a strike from just outside the penalty spot in the 56th minute, and Chinonyerem Chukwu and Renee Watson added singles as Canada started smartly with a 3-0 win over Jamaica.

Smith, who competes as a midfielder for the NCAA’s Penn State Nittany Lions, added a brace in game two as Canada rolled to a 5-0 thumping of Panama, with Zoe Markesini and Amanda Allen, along with a Panama own goal, completing the scoring.

Canada dropped to the second-place spot in their group Tuesday when they fell 5-2 to the top-seeded Americans with Allen and Nyah Rose scoring for the red & white.

Smith, who became the youngest to ever play for Canada’s senior squad when she was capped twice as a 15 year-old in 2019 (and was subsequently named Canada’s Youth International Player of the Year), trails only American Madeline Dahlien and Sheika Scott of Costa Rica – each with four goals – for the tournament scoring lead.

The USA will meet Costa Rica in Friday’s other semi-final.

 

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