Game in a sentence
A feisty and physical game ends how it started as Canada waits until to September to continue their quest for Brazil.
- It wasn’t hyperbole to suggest this was the biggest game for Canadian Men’s soccer in years. Via the Toronto Sun’s Kurtis Larson, no CONCACAF team has ever failed to qualify for the fourth and final qualification round after taking six points from its first two third round games.
- Thought to be the favourites in Group C, Honduras dropped their opener at home to Panama. Canada’s last meeting with Los Catrachos came two years ago in Montreal, a friendly which Canada won 2-1. Much of the talk on twitter in the lead up to tonight’s clash focused on whether enough Canadian supporters would show up to make this a true home field advantage. Listening to the national anthem was all you needed to hear. Kudos to the people clad in red who made it down to the lake.
- The return of midfielder Atiba Hutchinson to the starting lineup resulted in Manager Stephen Hart adopting a 4-5-1 formation with Olivier Occean as the lone attacker. Milan Borjan replaced suspended first team goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld. The Hondurans utilized a 4-4-2 with Carlos Costly and Sporting KC’s Roger Espinoza featured at the front.
- Hutchinson’s presence was felt immediately. Canada controlled the opening twenty five minutes, garnering the first few scoring chances of the match. That said, the Hondurans refused to allow Occean to operate and receive the ball deep, something he did so well four days ago against the Cubans.
- Emotions began to take over midway through the half. Defenders Kevin McKenna and Maynor Figueroa drew yellow cards. An altercation between Wilson Palacios and Dwayne De Rosario saw ‘punches’ – slaps is probably more apt – thrown. A terribly reckless challenge by Palacios on Hutchinson resulted in a free kick from the edge of the box that the Canadians failed to capitalize on.
- The Hondurans began to dictate play towards the end of the half. Anthony Lozano bottled their best chance, missing a sitter from six yards out. Discipline would be the story of the opening 45 minutes with Canada drawing three yellow cards- including a dubious Occean booking for diving- to Honduras’ two.
- “Are you joking?” – a direct quote from Hart after André Hainault was molested by a Honduran defender during a corner – summed up the Trinidadian’s feelings about Referee Luis Suarez’s decision making.
- Honduras picked up where they left off in the second half, maintaining a majority of the posession but failing to make any real threat towards the Canadian goal. The Canadians found their footing soon after and nearly drew first blood. Excellent defending from Figueroa kept the score level with twenty minutes to go.
- Canada set up camp in the Honduran half for the final ten. A world class play, lucky bounce or set piece -or perhaps all three combined – would provide the winner for either side.
- Roger Espinoza came the closest, blistering a strike inches over the bar from well out. While this was happening a technical malfunction with the substitution board didn’t allow Canada to sub an injured Atiba Hutchinson. Only in CONCACAF…
- Kevin McKenna nearly gave us that “where were you when” moment Canadian soccer fans so desperately crave. Headed wide. Damn.
- The moment never came. Final score 0-0. Not a disaster, not a triumph but certainly a hollow feeling. There were three points to be had tonight. On to September.
1. Maynor Figueroa
2. Julian De Guzman
3. Kevin McKenna