Canada 1-1 Panama

Game in a sentence

  • Canada failed to create enough scoring opportunities despite dominating possession and it caught up with them in the dying moments as Panama scored in injury time to earn a 1-1 draw.

Observations

  • It appeared Canada were going to win another 1-0 game through a questionable penalty but in the end the talk will now be about their wasted chances rather than the one chance they took.
  • It was a crushing way to concede a goal but Canada simply should never have been in a position where they were able to concede one goal and get knocked out. They had the majority of the ball throughout, but once again their passing and lack of creativity in the final third was very poor.
  • As the clock ticked towards 90:00 they still led 1-0 but that’s when it all went wrong.
  • 89:35 – Armando Cooper easily got by substitiute Pedro Pacheco and Terry Dunfield has to come over and give away a corner.
  • 90:05 – Milan Borjan unneccessarily came off his line for the corner which was headed away by Kevin McKenna but was immediately sent back into the box.
  • 90:08 Borjan was now out of position and the defending from Canada was poor as a shot hit the bar and fell out to Anibal Godoy whose tame shot towards goal went underneath Borjan and into the back of the net. It was the second major error by a ‘keeper for Canada and led to pandemonium everywhere- Canada couldn’t believe it, Borjan rolled on the floor in pain, Panama celebrated a goal that gave them top spot in Group C and the public address announcer and television director thought Blas Perez had scored when he was nowhere near the ball.
  • The confusion summed up Canada’s night. It wasn’t pretty or by any means impressive yet Canada found a way to be three minutes away from the quarter finals of the Gold Cup courtesy of Dwayne De Rosario’s penalty in the second half.
  • You could say that it was again a dubious call but quite honestly I am not even sure what is a legitimate penalty in this game anymore. What I do know is I have never seen so many given across the world and although the foul called in this game looked generous, you wouldn’t be surprised to see it called in the Premier League, for example.
  • Fifteen seconds prior to the decision, Canada’s best player Julian De Guzman sent a good cross into the box that found Will Johnson’s head and the Real Salt Lake man smartly guided it into the direction of Dwayne De Rosario, who suddenly fell under a collision by Eybir Bonaga.
  • It was a pity that Canada could only find the back of the net through a penalty and ultimately the fact that they couldn’t score from open play (or from anything other than a spot kick) in three matches cost them.
  • Canada should have been ahead inside five minutes when De Guzman intercepted a Panama attack and immediately countered with a through ball to Simeon Jackson that put the Norwich striker clean through, but unfortunately he blasted the ball high and wide.
  • It was one of many good moments early from De Guzman who won three crucial tackles inside 15 minutes and connected the midfield well with his team-mates in the final third.
  • Unfortunately, as the game wore on the midfield central three of De Guzman, Terry Dunfield and Will Johnson all sat too deep and didn’t create enough. Just like against Guadeloupe, this put the emphasis on the two wide players, Josh Simpson and Dwayne De Rosario, to create and feed Simeon Jackson, but neither of them played very well.
  • And so now the diagnosis of this team’s performance at this tournament will start and the results will not be good. Is the 4-5-1 too defensive? How can they get spark in the middle of the park? Should De Rosario play for Canada again? Can they find a right back with a Canadian passport anywhere?
  • It is one thing to start slow in a tournament and do enough to get through but margins are fine in sports and Canada ultimately fell short of their goal, which was to at least reach the knock out stages of the Gold Cup. Against the USA they were outplayed by a better team but their performances against Guadeloupe and Panama were quite simply not good enough. It is true that the team didn’t have Atiba Hutchinson for those games but it is also true that they had a Premier League striker, an MLS DP and someone who thinks himself as an MLS DP. This team simply underperformed at this tournament and Head Coach Stephen Hart now needs to watch all three games over and over again before September.
  • Hart always said he would have one eye on World Cup qualifying throughout this competition and now he will have both eyes on it. It is time to learn from the mistakes of these past three games and move forward. Canada simply has to find a way of creating more. Their movement improved as the tournament went on but they were still too predictable with the ball and didn’t bring opponents out of position enough, and therefore the space wasn’t found that can lead to goals. Nothing is more difficult in this game than scoring goals but that’s a challenge that Canada must overcome quickly if they want to make a reasonable run at qualifying for Brazil 2014.

Three Stars

  1. Julian De Guzman
  2. Felipe Baloy
  3. Will Johnson

Kristian Jack