Canada faces uphill climb in World Cup qualifying | Soccer | CBC Sports

SoccerCanada faces uphill climb in World Cup qualifying

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 | 07:37 AM

Back to accessibility links
Canada's Atiba Hutchinson (13) chases down Jean Carlos Cedeno in a 2-0 loss to Panama in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier. (Arnulfo Franco/Associated Press) Canada's Atiba Hutchinson (13) chases down Jean Carlos Cedeno in a 2-0 loss to Panama in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier. (Arnulfo Franco/Associated Press)

Beginning of Story Content

For what it's worth, Canada's 2-0 loss to Panama wasn't as bad as it looked. Canada wasn't expected to win. It's no easy task to win in Central America.

For what it's worth, Canada's 2-0 loss to Panama wasn't as bad as it looked. Canada wasn't expected to win. It's no easy task to win in Central America.

For what it's worth, Canada played without three of their starters for most of the game. The absence of Will Johnson on suspension and Olivier Occean to injury are not small holes to fill. CONCACAF has grown its talent in the last five years and few teams wouldn't be affected by a blow like that.

For what it's worth, Canada took zero points in Panama, where the opposition's fans did everything possible to ensure the Canuck squad was distracted. A massive display of fireworks, giant speakers and communal disruptions are common place for any gringos that are a threat, as are poor results. It's something the Canadians had seen before and, as they continue to emerge, will see again.

For what it's worth, Canada played a 4-5-1 formation for most of the game against a possession-oriented opponent. Julian de Guzman, who has received praise for playing so well for his country and not as well for his club, looked decidedly like club-Julian on this night as he sprayed errant passes around the pitch. That is a squad that couldn't find linkage with the long ball and, on a team without a striker who can effectively hold the ball up in the lineup, will continue to struggle to create chances.

For what it's worth, Canada's success in this group so far has largely been thanks to the back four. Kevin McKenna is a beast. Andre Hainault has shown that he too belongs in the starting lineup of any team in the region. But when those who are reliable go begging in a game where they allowed two goals and created next to no chances in the opposition end, that won't be a recipe for success in any country.

For what it's worth, Canada now has two goals from four games in this round. Let that sink in for a second. No team can expect a winning record with that kind of production up front. 

For what it's worth, Canada largely played the same style and structure as it did against Panama at home, minus the starters. It's not often that you are able to get away with playing even similar tactics in international football, in such quick succession, without the other team catching on.

For what it's worth, little mistakes make a difference. Not stationing a player on the back post, as Canada failed to do on a corner kick that led to the first goal, doesn't often end well -- and it took the wind out of Canada early on this night.  

For what it's worth, Canada now finds itself in third place in the group, tied with Honduras on points but two goals back on differential. The Canadians now have to beat Cuba at home and, barring some miracle ahead of their final game, go into Honduras to get some kind of result. Stranger things have happened in CONCACAF but, in all likelihood, to be sure, they will need a draw in their final group-stage game.

For what it's worth, it's not ideal looking down a double barrel gun where any buckshot could send you spiralling, but it's a situation Canada has found itself in before. Honduras is a regular crusher of Canadian dreams.   

Just when Canada looks like it has found the answer and the bridge troll seems to say 'You shall pass,' Honduras finds another way to throw Canada a big question mark. The road will never be easy in CONCACAF. The deck is often stacked against Canada and just about everything that could go wrong seemingly does.

And for what it's worth, in this last week, with a dramatic win at home and a crushing loss away, that is Canadian soccer in a nutshell.

End of Story Content

Back to accessibility links

Story Social Media

End of Story Social Media

Comments are closed.