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Three Takeaways: Cyle Larin Does It Again for the CanMNT

CanMNT’s Cyle Larin Leads Canada to Qualify for the Copa América

ANALYSIS – It was not Canada’s best game. However, they were still able to get the job done at Toyota Stadium as Cyle Larin scored the first goal of the game, and as a result, Canada will play in the 2024 Copa América tournament.

Cyle Larin Leads the CanMNT To Copa América

Cyle Larin Critical Again for the CanMNT

Larin had a fantastic chance inside the box, but shot it straight to the Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper. The leading goal-scorer for the men’s national team, Larin knows when it is the right time to score. Whether that is scoring two goals in a 2-1 win over Mexico at Commonwealth Stadium, or scoring one of the two goals against the USMNT at Tim Hortons Field, he knows how to get the job done.

This was the same case on Saturday, as Larin executed on a play set-up by Tajon Buchanan and a great pass delivered by Ismaël Koné. Of course, that goal forced Trinidad and Tobago to play less defensive against the Canadians. This is what Larin said about his goal (source: CanMNT X Account):

“Felt great for me, to get back on the score sheet, it has been awhile. It is important for the team to get the W and move on to the next stage.”

The CanMNT Had More Possession and Scoring Chances

The CanMNT had six shots on goal, while controlling the tempo of the game in terms of possession. Some of these big chances included:

  • Jonathan David’s shot just missed the net.
  • A Shaffelburg shot that hit the post.

There were of course other chances Canada had. Also, while it might have been Trinidad and Tobago’s game-plan, it meant that they would likely not get that many scoring chances. That seemed to be true for Trinidad until Canada scored the opening goal.

In some ways that worked, however, it also led to a much-needed insurance goal scored by Jacob Shaffelburg. This is what Biello said about Shaffelburg in the post-game conference:

“I think look, every time he has been called for the time that he has come in. So sharp this week in training one of the sharpest players in training. So I’m so happy that he is able to transfer that energy and quality in training into the game.”

Maxime Crépeau Played Bravely Today

Crépeau did not have too much to do in terms of making big saves. He had to be alert though, with a big part of that being the performance of Trinidad and Tobago’s Levi García, who created and produced some of the Soca Warriors best scoring chances. This included late in the game, when Crépeau’s positioning helped him earn the easy save.

He had to be brave though, as seen in the 68 and the 69-minute, where he came out of his crease to get the ball out of harm’s way.

While Crépeau was not too busy, what was seen from him is a positive sign for things to come.

Other Factors: Trinidad and Tobago Defence Deserves Credit

Trinidad and Tobago on paper does not have the talent of Canada. While saying that, it is also true that the Soca Warriors looked like they can match Canada. An example was Garcia stole the ball from Alphonso Davies. Other examples include:

  • Shannon Gomez of Trinidad and Tobago made some big blocks for the team against Canada.
  • Trinidad defended well on corners and did not allow Canada clear-cut scoring chances.

The two areas of concern for Canada are probably their defence and corners taken. The Canadian defence gave up two big chances early in both half and it seemed that the CanMNT’s defence was making a lot of mistakes after Larin scored. Additionally, their corners more often than not were a bit wasteful and went straight to the Soca Warriors goalkeeper, Denzil Smith.

Saying that, it is important to note that Canada will make their debut in the Copa América tournament. This is a big moment for a country, who will be playing against some top-notch teams. Shaffelburg is a bright spot of the Canadian men’s national team, whose goal was assisted by Jonathan David. Credit should also be given to Jacen Russell-Rowe, who assisted in Shaffelburg’s goal.

READ MORE: The CanMNT vs Trinidad and Tobago Predictions: A Lot on the Line

What Is Next for the CanMNT

READ MORE: Potential CanMNT Head Coach Candidates: Who Are They?

There are four big games coming up for the Canadians in June. This includes a friendly against the Netherlands on June 6, 2024. That game will be shown live on OneSoccer as well as Telus and FuboTV Inc. It starts on 2:45pm ET at the Stadion Feijenoord in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The CanMNT Copa América Schedule:

Argentina – June 20, 2024, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia (8:00pm ET)

Peru – June 25, 2024, at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas (6:00pm ET)

Chile – June 29, 2024, at Inter&Co Stadium, Orlando, Florida (8:00pm ET)

All three Copa América games listed above will be televised live nationally in Canada on TSN/RDS. This is what Biello said about Canada being a part of this competition (source: Benedict Rhodes of the Canadian Premier League):

“Outside of the, the World Cup, it’s a very prestigious tournament, Copa América. We’re going to really feel the passion of this type of tournament, and what it brings and what it means for those countries. To be part of that is amazing for soccer people, it’s amazing to live those types of feelings and emotions and play in those types of games. We have the chance to play against the world champions, it’s a dream.”

Despite a disappointing year in 2023, there is still a lot to look forward to in 2024. The men’s national team will be in Copa América while the women’s national team still has some games in both the SheBelieves Cup and the Summer Olympics in Paris 2024.

Meanwhile, for the Soca Warriors with Trinidad and Tobago, they officially start their FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign on June 5, 2024 as they host Grenada before travelling to face the Bahamas on June 8, 2024.


Photo Credit: Canada Soccer EN X Account and the Canada Soccer FR X Account on March 23, 2024.


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