Canada opens Gold Cup with easy shutout win over Martinique
Jonathan David scores brace in his Gold Cup debut
Jonathan David hopes to take Canadian soccer to heights it has never reached.
Junior Hoilett and Scott Arfield also scored, as Canada got its the largest margin of victory in a Gold Cup match. It was just the second time Canada scored four goals in the biennial tournament, the other coming in a 4-2 win over French Guiana in the 2017 opener.
"We have young players, good players playing at good clubs so it's an exciting moment for Canada, and just trying to make the most of it when we can," David said.
David, who emerged for Kaa Gent in the Belgian First Division this past season by scoring 12 goals in 33 league matches, has been just as prolific for Canada by scoring six goals in his first five matches with the senior national team.
WATCH: Jonathan David scores in his Gold Cup debut:
That form had Canada head coach John Herdman believing David was "under the radar" coming into the Gold Cup, but it didn't take long for him to emerge in his first major international tournament.
David showed his prowess when capitalizing on a mistake by Martinique as it tried to build out from the back to put Canada ahead 1-0 in the 33rd minute. Daniel Herelle could not control a pass from goalkeeper Loic Chauvet and David collected the loose ball before calmly scoring into the left corner after charging in on goal and forcing Chauvet down to one knee.
That sequence, Herdman said, confirmed David's readiness for the big stage.
"He's like an iceman," Herdman said. "He's able to slow it right down in the box, wait for the keeper to sit down, and pick his moments. That's a real special quality in a striker."
David made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute. Kept onside by midfielder Karl Vitulin, David was able to collect a long ball over the top from Samuel Piette and score on a breakaway.
"It's great to have a striker like that, and he's clinical in those moments because those chances can change games," defender Mark-Anthony Kaye said.
"Our confidence is high and the guys are able just to play and enjoy their football."<br><br>Milan Borjan / <a href="https://twitter.com/mr_zombi?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@mr_zombi</a> is loving what he is seeing in front of him and wants <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CANMNT?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CANMNT</a> to have no fear going into Wednesday's clash with Mexico.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TogetherWeRise?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TogetherWeRise</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoldCup2019?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoldCup2019</a> <a href="https://t.co/qe8A1yHE3l">pic.twitter.com/qe8A1yHE3l</a>—@CanadaSoccerEN
Hoilett extended the lead to 3-0 in the 63rd minute off a cross from David to the far post. Hoilett's initial shot was saved by Chauvet, but the rebound struck Hoilett in the knee and went in for his sixth international goal.
Arfield got the final goal in the 67th minute on a shot from outside the penalty box into the far right corner.
Herdman said the willingness to keep attacking reflects a change in Canadian soccer, which has won six consecutive matches in all competitions and outscored opponents 27-1 in that span. Herdman wants to carry that positive approach into the match against Mexico in Denver on Wednesday.
"I think the Canadian DNA in these matches has been typically to defend," Herdman said. "We've got a little bit more about us now, so the players are excited for this game."