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Canada has lost forward Nichelle Price for the rest of the CONCACAF W Gold Cup due to a calf injury sustained against El Salvador on Feb. 23. Prince, front left, attempts to control the ball near Panama defender Maryorie Perez on Oct. 14, 2018.The Canadian Press

Canada has lost forward Nichelle Price for the rest of the CONCACAF W Gold Cup due to a calf injury suffered in Friday’s 6-0 win over 104th-ranked El Salvador.

The 29-year-old from Ajax, Ont., left the game in the 44th minute after pulling up going after a ball at Houston’s Shell Energy Stadium.

Prince is no stranger to injury, having ruptured her Achilles in a friendly against Brazil in November 2022. She recovered in time to make Canada’s roster for last summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand but only saw brief action off the bench in Canada’s opening game against Nigeria in Melbourne.

She has started six of Canada’s seven games since the World Cup and scored in a 2-0 win in the opening leg of its Olympic qualifying playoff series against Jamaica in September.

“It’s just very unfortunate,” Canada coach Bev Priestman told a media availability Saturday. “I feel devastated for Nichelle, both on a personal level but also what she’s contributed for this team post-World Cup. I think she’s done incredibly well in that No. 9 (position) so it’s a massive loss for us.

“But I’m pleased at the same time to say well this isn’t another long-term long-term injury. But I think it’s long enough to rule her out with the Gold Cup and it could be tight for (the) SheBelieves (Cup in April). I’m not sure yet.”

Prince, who has 16 goals in 97 appearances for Canada, is returning to her club team, the Kansas City Current, to begin her rehabilitation.

Olympic champion Canada is already without the injured Sydney Collins, Jayde Riviere, Janine Beckie and Desiree Scott.

The Houston Dash traded Prince to Kansas City last month in exchange for forward Cece Kizer and an international slot for 2024.

Taken in the third round (28th overall) of the 2017 NWSL draft, Prince scored 12 goals in 88 career regular-season appearances, including 72 starts, for Houston.

The 10th-ranked Canadians continue Group C play Sunday against No. 50 Paraguay, which edged No. 43 Costa Rica 1-0 on Friday. The two teams have never met before at the senior level.

The South Americans earned their invitation to the tournament by finishing fourth at the 2022 Women’s Copa America.

“They’re incredibly tenacious but also well-organized and hard to break down,” said Priestman. “We’re going to have to take our game to another level and do that off the back of a tight turnaround with some injuries. So that’s a challenge but we have to embrace that challenge and be ready for that with our own standards and expectations.”

The Canadians wrap up group play in Houston on Wednesday against No. 43 Costa Rica.

The inaugural 12-country women’s Gold Cup runs through March 10 in Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego and Carson. The group winners, runners-ups and the two best third-place finishers will advance to the tournament’s quarterfinals.

The men’s CONCACAF Gold Cup has been held since 1991 with Canada winning in 2000.

CONCACAF covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.

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