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Why Canada Should Be Optimistic For the Gold Cup Knockout Round

Golden age for Canadian soccer?

Sebastien St-Jean / Agence QMI

Canada's 1-0-2 record was good enough to see Canada through the Knockout round of the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the 1st time since 2009, the Reds strong showing thus far has given us hope for a team that has been in the abyss for the greater part of a decade. Octavio Zambrano, Canada's manager since March, made the decision to formulate a squad composed of youngsters including 16-year-old sensation Alphonso Davies and Anthony Jackson-Hamel of the Montreal Impact fused with seasoned veteran's like Scott Arfield, Junior Hoilett, Steven Vitoria and Tosaint Ricketts has proved to be a great decision by the Ecuadorian-American.

Canada v Honduras: Group A - 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It's obviously one of the main reasons why Canada qualified to the latter stages of the tournament. Canada's recent successes prove that Octavio Zambrano is the type of manager that this country has been longing for. An attacking specialist willing to give his young players a chance on the pitch.

We observed what Zambrano had up his sleeve during his first test at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. In Canada's first match against CONCACAF minnows, French Guiana, Zambrano fielded an extremely young starting 11 consisting of Michael Petrasso (22), Sam Adekugbe (22), Samuel Piette (22), Mark Anthony-Kaye (22), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (23), Lucas Cavallini (24) and Alphonso Davies (16). What I admire most about this squad is the fact that Zambrano is showing trust in his youngsters by giving Canada's future an opportunity to display their true talents on the pitch without getting harped on for their defensive errors.

Delivering their young players a chance will prove to be a great choice for the development of Canada's stars. With the young guns spread out through the team, Canada's playing style has drifted away from a defense first style of play to an up-tempo brand of soccer. Witnessing such phenomenon is refreshing for our eyes after observing a defensively minded team under the realm of Benito Floro.

Furthermore, we can clearly come to the conclusion that Zambrano has been pushing the right buttons considerably. So far in this coveted tournament, Canada had the full fledged capability to battle for the full 90 minutes in a hostile environment against CONCACAF giants, Honduras. The heated matchup had the semblance of a game in the scorching heat of San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Canada's men also challenged 2014 World Cup Quarter Finalists, Costa Rica, to their absolute limit in a deadlocked 1-1 draw. The aforementioned matches provide us reason to believe that Team Canada perhaps has the ability to compete with any Nation this Knock Out Round.

Despite the minuscule sample size, there is a bonafide chance that under the tutelage of Octavio Zambrano, this team can drift away from a defensive first system and in the latter morph into an exciting team renowned for their blistering speed throughout the starting 11.