Octavio Zambrano’s debut as manager of the men’s national team sealed with a victory. Canada hosted Curaçao at Stade Saputo Tuesday June 13th, as a pre-Gold Cup friendly. With the Gold Cup beginning on July 7th Zambrano got an opportunity to display his roster selection. Three players from the Montreal Impact made the final cut; Patrice Bernier, Anthony Jackson-Hamel, and Maxime Crépeau.
The week before the game, it was made very clear that Zambrano was installing a very attacking mentality in his players. He also placed a lot of importance on the role Bernier would play in the game on Tuesday and hopefully during the Gold Cup.
Canada pressed very early on forcing Curaçao to transition quickly which led to some opportunities for Canada. None were very strong opportunities and Canada lacked finishing. Hoilett for example, received a crossed almost alone in the box and he was unable to gain enough control of the ball to get a strike in. On the other end, Curaçao missed a golden opportunity when the ball was miss handled by Canadian defense and was given away in the middle of the box to Curaçao; fortunately for Canada, he missed the entire net.
Right before the end of the first half, Curaçao benefited from a bad defensive play. A cross came in and passed by three of Canada’s men before reaching Curaçao very own Rangelo Janga who struck the ball passed Milan Borjan. The major defensive error was committed by Manjrekar James who was not placed properly on the play but he somewhat recovered his mistake by scoring a goal of his own. Johnson took a free kick almost from midfield leading Piette and the keeper to come together and the ball fell to James’s feet that capitalized on the opportunity.
In the second half, youth seemed to be the answer for Zambrano. The young players made a quick impact. Jackson-Hamel took a few good strikes and a goal was regrettably disallowed because of Teibert’s offside deflection. Davies drew a penalty after flying down the side of the field. Unfortunately, on the penalty, Hoilett beat the keeper but not the post. Right after the missed penalty, Canada got a throw in deep in the zone and the ball was grabbed by a Curaçao player who then lost a challenge against Piette. Piette won the ball and sent it towards Jackson-Hamel who let go a strike from outside the box into the bottom left corner.
Canada walked away with a 2-1 victory they could draw positives from. It will be interesting to watch their run in the Gold Cup under new management.
· Experience and youth: players like Bernier and Marcel De Jong were leaders on the field. While players like Jackson-Hamel and Davies may be key pieces for Zambrano in the future.
·Piette to Montreal: A lot of discussions over the week of fans being interested of Samuel Piette landing in Montreal to fill the role of players like Donadel who isn’t getting younger or Bernadello/Mallace who aren’t doing their job.
· Still developing: while Canada did show some interesting stretches in the game there is still some work to be done in some areas. Some keys players were obviously not part of the lineup or came in for a very little time like Adam Straith. Defensively development is needed. In the midfield, some stability is needed which may come with the players playing with each other more often. Offensively, all opportunities must be capitalized, finishing on golden chances is mandatory for Canada.
CAN – GK-Milan Borjan; D-Manjrekar James (Adam Straith 75’), Dejan Jakovic, Marcel De Jong, Fraser Aird (Juan Cordova 82’) ; M-Patrice Bernier (Mark-Anthony Kaye 79’), Will Johnson (Russell Teibert 68’), Samuel Piette Junior Hoilett, Raheem Edwards (Alphonso Davies 53’); F-Cyle Larin (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 61’).
Subs not used: Maxime Crépeau, Marcus Haber, Tyler Pasher, Andres Fresenga, Jonathan Osorio, Kianz Froese.
CUW – GK-Eloy Room; D-Cuco Martina, Darryl Lachman, Quentin Jakoba, Gillian Justiana; M-Leandro Bacuna (Shanon Carmelia 75’), Jeremy de Nooijer, Gevaro Nepomuceno (Ayrton Statie, 83’), Elson Hooi (Kemy Agustien, 72’), Jarchinio Antonia (Gino van Kessel, HT); F-Rangelo Janga (Felitciano Zschusschen, HT).
Subs not used: Jairzinho Pieter, Rowendy Sumter, Dustley Mulder, Juriën Gaari, Doriano Kortstam, Michael Maria, Ashar Bernadus
CUW –Janga (Nepomuceno 43’
CAN – James (Piette, Johnson) 45’
CAN –Jackson-Hamel (Piette) 87’
CUW – de Nooijer 70’
CAN – Jackson-Hamel 89’
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