Gold Cup soccer honours for Mississauga national team veteran and Whitby teen


Published March 11, 2024 at 7:32 pm

Adriana Leon (Canada) vs USA
Adriana Leon battles a rain-soaked pitch and American opponents in the Gold Cup semi-final in San Diego

Canada may have been CONCACAF’ed by a field in the Gold Cup semi-final better suited for ducks than footballers, but the women’s national team still came away with some honours in the continental championships, won by the USA 1-0 over Brazil.

Adriana Leon of Mississauga was a powerhouse on the field and clinical inside the box and was the tournament’s top scorer with six goals, including the tying goal in the waterlogged semi-final against the U.S. that sent the match into extra time.

The Americans would win the game 3-2 on penalties.

Leon was a threat to score every time she touched the ball, bagging a brace in Canada’s opening 6-0 victory against El Salvador and following that up with a hat-trick in the 4-0 win against Paraguay. She was also a physical presence on the pitch, displaying her hockey background on more than a few occasions.

Meanwhile Whitby teenager Olivia Smith was a “revelation” in the inaugural Women’s Gold Cup, scoring two goals (including her first for the senior national team) in four games, finishing the tournament with 202 minutes played. Smith, who is having a breakout year in her first season of professional soccer with Portugal’s Sporting, also had two assists, a steal and completed almost 78 percent of her passes.


The Americans, who won gold in the Gold Cup on a first-half header from Lindsey Horan, copped the other three tournament awards. The Best Player Award went to Jaedyn Shaw and the Best Goalkeeper Award (despite a miraculous and tournament-saving extra time toe save by Canada’s Kailen Sheridan of Whitby in the quarter-final) went to Alyssa Naeher. The U.S.A. also won the Fair Play Award.

The USA, Canada and Brazil have all qualified for this summer’s Olympic tournament in Paris.

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