Canada took on a formidable opponent last night at BC Place. It was said that if the Canadians were to have a chance, they would have to play their best football. Sadly, the Canadians did not pull a rabbit out of their hats. The Canadian national soccer team fell 3-0 to Mexico Friday night at BC Place in front of 54 798 chanting fans. Our Canadian squad was definitely the underdog in this match but the result is still disappointing for Benito Floro's team.
The Canadians were the masters of their own demise. They had great scoring chances but on multiple occasions, they missed the net and sent the ball sailing into section 206 of BC Place. At the other end of the pitch, Mexico was clinical in their finishing in front of Milan Borjan's net. Ultimately, the difference between the two teams was Mexico's ability to capitalize on their chances and drill the ball into the net, not the stands.
The Reds' first missed opportunity of the game came in the 21st minute. Julian de Guzman lobbed the ball across the penalty area. The ball sailed over the heads of Cyle Larin and Tosaint Ricketts before landing perfectly in the path of Junior Hoilett. The Queens Park Rangers' midfielder one timed the ball from 8 yards out and somehow managed to miss the net.
Canada's next chance came in the 24th minute when Marcel de Jong sent out a long searching cross that found Larin. The young Canadian was out alone against the Mexican keeper Alfredo Talavera. The 20 year old from Brampton Ontario was forced to shoot from a limited angle. His shot sailed harmlessly to the left of the Mexican net.
Mexico made Canada pay for their missed chances when Chicharito converted a cross from Miguel Layun. Chicharito send the ball sailing into the back of Borjan's net. The sequence that led to that goal started when Tosaint Ricketts failed to close down the passing lane and eliminate the time and space Layun needed to fire in his cross. This was the first goal Canada conceded in over 200 minutes of FIFA CONCACAF qualifying.
Canada's next good scoring opportunity came in the 35th minute. On this occasion, Junior Hoilett once again found himself in a scoring position. The 25 year old, also from Brampton, had the opportunity for a clear shot from 18 yards out. This time he was closer than he was before but once again he sent the ball sailing harmlessly over the cross-bar.
Shortly after Hoilett missed his second scoring chance of the game, Mexico showed Canada how to capitalize on your opportunities. Atiba Hutchinson made an uncharacteristic mistake when he turned over the ball in the middle of the park. Mexico recovered the ball and quickly sent Hirving Lozano out on a 1 on 1 situation with the Canadian keeper. Unlike Larin, Lozano drilled the ball into the net and doubled Mexico's lead.
After a few more missed chances on Canada's part, Mexico scored their final goal of the match in the 71st minute. Doneil Henry missed his clearance and sent the ball directly towards an opponent who sent a perfectly placed cross to Jesus Corona who was lurking on the outskirts of the penalty area. Corona capitalized on his opportunity and sent Mexico up by 3 goals.
A loss was the expected result for the Canadian squad but that does not make the outcome any less disappointing for the Canadian team and their fans. Ultimately, what hurt Canada in this match was their inability to capitalize on their chances in front of the net.
To beat a squad like Mexico, you need to be clinical in your finishing in front of the goal and put away every single chance they give you. Canada was not able to do that Friday night and they suffered the consequences. On Tuesday March 29th, Canada is once again facing off against Mexico.
This time, the game will be held on Mexico's home turf in famed Estadio Azteca where it is infamously difficult to win or even draw. If Canada is to have a hope this Tuesday they will have to be much much better in front of the goal.