By Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
TORONTO – The breaks have not gone Canada’s way in the buildup to the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, which doubles as a World Cup qualifying tournament.
Veteran midfielder Desiree Scott, a 135-cap veteran known as The Destroyer, was injured on the first day of training camp in Texas. Her foot was stepped on during a tackle, resulting in a small bone fragment coming loose.
The 31-year-old from Winnipeg is expected to be out six to eight weeks.
“We’re pretty happy it’s not a long-term injury but it’s very sad for Des,” Canada coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller said from Texas. “She definitely wanted to be in this tournament.
“And it’s, of course, a setback for us. But we’ve got great players … Somebody else will step up.”
Vancouver defender Shannon Woeller, meanwhile, broke her arm on the eve of the Sept. 2 friendly win over Brazil in Ottawa.
Heiner-Moller has included uncapped Emma Regan and four other teenagers in his 20-woman squad for the eight-country tournament that runs Oct. 4-17 in North Carolina and Texas.
The 18-year-old Regan is joined by forward Jordyn Huitema (17), Julia Grosso (18) and Gabrielle Carle and Deanne Rose (both 19). Carle and Rose were members of Canada’s 2016 Olympic bronze medallist squad and already have 42 caps between them.
“They’re definitely showing us, the coaching staff and the rest, that the future of this national team, also after the World Cup, after the Olympics, is looking very promising,” said Heiner-Moller.
There is no shortage of experience with a combined 1,331 caps (for an average of 66.5) in the squad.
With 269 caps, captain Christine Sinclair is one of four centurions along with Diana Matheson (196), Sophie Schmidt (172) and Erin McLeod (116).
Fifth-ranked Canada will play out of Edinburg, Texas, in a group with No. 33 Costa Rica, No. 71 Jamaica and No. 85 Cuba — teams that Canada is a combined 19-0-0 against and has outscored 90-6.
Canada opens Oct. 5 against Jamaica at H-E-B Park before facing Cuba on Oct. 8 and Costa Rica on Oct 11. Following the group stage, all matches will be played at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
The other group, playing in Cary, N.C., features the top-ranked U.S., No. 25 Mexico, No. 50 Trinidad and Tobago, and Panama, which is unranked because it has been inactive for more than 18 months.
The top three finishers qualify automatically for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France while the fourth-place team will meet Argentina in a playoff to see who joins them.
The group winner will cross over to face the runner-up in the other group, meaning Canada will face Mexico if the rankings hold. The Canadians are 10-0-2 against Mexico since a 2-1 loss in 2004 that denied the Canadians a berth in the Athens Olympics.
With 173 international goals, Sinclair is second only to retired American Abby Wambach, who scored 184. Sinclair, who wears No. 12, needs an even dozen more to set the world record for most international goals.
Heiner-Moller brought 23 women to a pre-tournament camp in Texas that started Sept. 20. The three players missing out on the tournament are Scott, goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo and defender Jenna Hellstrom.
With a roster of 20, Heiner-Moller is just taking two ‘keepers: Stephanie Labbe and McLeod.
The Canadian women have never lost to Costa Rica in 12 meetings (12-0-0), defeating the Central Americans 6-0 last time out in Toronto in June 2017. Canada is 6-0-0 against Jamaica and 1-0-0 against Cuba.
Canada outscored its opposition 20-3 in finishing runner-up at the most recent CONCACAF women’s tournament in 2016, which served as an Olympic qualifier.
The Americans have won the regional championship seven times, with Canada emerging victorious twice (1998 and 2010).
Goalkeepers: Stephanie Labbe, Stony Plain, Alta., Lejonflocken Linkoping (Sweden); Erin McLeod, St. Albert, Alta., SC Sand (Germany).
Defenders: Lindsay Agnew, Kingston, Ont., Houston Dash (NWSL); Allysha Chapman, Courtice, Ont., Houston Dash (NWSL); Ashley Lawrence, Caledon, Ont., Paris Saint-Germain (France); Emma Regan, Burnaby, B.C., University of Texas (NCAA); Kadeisha Buchanan, Brampton, Ont, Olympique Lyonnais (France); Shelina Zadorsky, London, Ont., Orlando Pride (NWSL).
Defender-Midfielder: Rebecca Quinn, Toronto, Washington Spirit (NWSL).
Midfielders: Jessie Fleming, London, Ont., UCLA (NCAA); Julia Grosso, Vancouver, University of Texas (NCAA); Diana Matheson, Oakville, Ont., Utah Royals FC (NWSL); Sophie Schmidt, Abbotsford, B.C., unattached; Gabrielle Carle, Levis, Que., Florida State University (NCAA).
Forwards: Jordyn Huitema, Chilliwack, B.C., Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite; Adriana Leon, King City, Ont., Seattle Reign FC (NWSL); Nichelle Prince, Ajax, Ont., Houston Dash (NWSL); Deanne Rose, Alliston, Ont., University of Florida Gators (NCAA); Christine Sinclair (capt.), Burnaby, B.C., Portland Thorns (NWSL); Janine Beckie, Highlands Ranch, Colo., Manchester City (England).