Many people will say that El Salvador was the feel good story of the 2017 Gold Cup. I may be biased but how could it not be Canada? The team gets put into arguably the toughest group, scored a goal for in the competition for the first time since 2011 AND finished second in this difficult group to move onto the quarterfinals for the first time since 2009. Oh yeah, and this 16-year-old player named Alphonso Davies did alright for himself scoring three goals in 4 appearances.
Sadly, the run came to an end on Thursday night as Octavio Zambrano and his men fell 2-1 to a strong Jamaican side but they certainly didn’t go down without a fight.
Canada may not be able to beat some of CONCACAF’s best but they certainly showed that they can hang with them.
Gold Cup Quarterfinals: Canada vs Jamaica Review
Darren Mattocks was quick down the right side and took advantage of Michael Petrasso being out of position to spot Shaun Francis who buried the strike giving goalkeeper Milan Borjan no chance and an early 1-0 lead.
Romario Williams pulled off some good footwork at the edge of the 18 to create just enough space to let his shot off and passed Borjan to give the Jamaicans a comfortable 2-0 lead. At the time, it appeared Jamaica would be safely on its way to the Gold Cup semis. But Canada had other ideas.
The Canadians received a little bit of life about 15 minutes into the second half courtesy of Junior Hoilett’s long range effort to cut the lead in half. His well-placed far post shot floated over Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake and into the net to make the game interesting for the final 30 minutes.
But that was as close as Canada would get. Andre Blake was great when called upon and maybe if it wasn’t for him, Canada would be in the semi finals.
Standouts: Manjrekar James, Scott Arfield, Russell Teibert.
- Canada certainly exceeded expectations at the 2017 Gold Cup
- The future is bright for the men’s program
- Canada can sure hang with some of CONCACAF’s best
- This team can find themselves higher in the world rankings very soon
The Gold Cup occurs every two years and typically, the beginning stages of a World Cup Qualifying cycle start about a year after the previous World Cup has been played. With that said, Canada won’t see another WCQ or Gold Cup match until 2019. That means all they can do in the meantime is play friendlies. Ideally they would play away friendlies vs CONCACAF opponents to get used to the environments so they don’t struggle on the road in WCQ. One or two friendlies per window is ideal.
That’s all for now!
Next up: Jamaica