World Cup qualifying: Canada beats Belize to advance to 4th round
Canadians enter the next stage against Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador
The Canadian men's soccer team advanced to the fourth round of FIFA World Cup qualifying with a 4-1 aggregate win over Belize on Tuesday.
Will Johnson scored a game-tying goal late in the first half to salvage a 1-1 draw in the Belize capital. The sole goal was more than enough offence for Canada, which won the first leg of the qualifier 3-0 at Toronto's BMO Field last Friday.
Deon McCauley scored in the 26th minute for Belize.
"We kept the ball as much as possible because Belize has a good counter attack and a dangerous player," Canadian coach Benito Floro said of McCaulay.
"We knew on this pitch they were going to play well. The match was very difficult."
Canada, ranked No. 102 in the world, will become part of Group A in the fourth round, the penultimate stage of qualifying in the region.
Group for next round set
That pool will feature No. 26 Mexico, No. 81 Honduras and No. 107 El Salvador with only the top two advancing after round-robin play to the final hexagon round.
Belize is ranked 128th in the world.
Canada dominated possession on the short, bumpy surface at FFB Stadium Tuesday, but McCaulay gave Belize an early lead with a right-footed blast. McCaulay took his pass from winger Daniel Jimenez before blasting it past Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan.
Johnson countered for Canada in the 45th minute. Cyle Larin had the ball at his feet for a few moments, but it spilled to the top of the box where Johnson fired a low, deflected shot into the bottom left corner past the diving goalkeeper Shane Moody-Orio.
The Canadians had chances early. Issey Nakajima-Farran had the first good chance on a header, while a later combination between Larin and Tosaint Ricketts was headed just wide.
Canada continued its attack and came close again on a Samuel Piette cross headed wide by Johnson. Then Ricketts, on a pass from Larin, shot just wide.
In the second half, Larin had another good chance inside the box while Marcel de Jong had a low free kick saved by Moody-Orio.
Canada carried three yellow cards into the next round, with Ricketts booked on Friday and both de Jong and David Edgar booked on Tuesday.