Canada sees opportunity to build on draw with United States

The Canadians scrapped their way to a scoreless draw with the favoured American squad, something that Canada hopes to use as a building block when World Cup qualifiers start.
TORONTO - It wasn't the prettiest of matches, but after it was over Canada could say that it stood toe-to-toe with the high-powered American squad.

The Canadians held the U.S. to a scoreless draw at BMO Field on Sunday night, in a match that could have gone either way.

"First half, we showed good discipline, good organization, but we were a little sloppy with the ball at times, a little bit too - maybe - nervous," Canada head coach Stephen Hart said following the match. "But I was very pleased with the way we played the second half."

After surviving a flurry of American possession and attacking play in the opening quarter hour, Canada settled down a bit and started to even things up, eventually getting some good scoring chances of its own.

"I thought we showed good organization, good patience defensively, and it allowed us to get several opportunities on the transition," Hart explained.

As the game wore on, both sides pushed for a goal and opened up play, which allowed for Canada to get into some very dangerous spots on the field. Dwayne De Rosario and Simeon Jackson both found themselves alone against Tim Howard within the six yard box, but neither could finish.

Hart felt that perhaps his side was a little too eager in the final third, when a little bit of patience could have helped.

"We were a little bit hasty, especially on the counterattack, the final pass wasn't decisive enough, or sometimes it was a little bit short," Hart said.

With uncapped Canadian-born attacker Junior Hoilett in attendance, Canada looked eager to send the crowd of 15,247 fans home happy. If not for a bit of bad luck, the home side could have done just that.

"We were unlucky at the end there not to score," said Canada captain Kevin McKenna. "The U.S. also had a big chance at the end, but I thought it was good entertainment and I hope that everybody enjoyed it."

Both McKenna and his coach lauded Canada's team defence against a U.S. side that boasts plenty of attacking options. It was that rock-solid play at the back end that allowed Canada to go forward with confidence, McKenna said.

"I think in the last couple of games we haven't been hard to beat, and I think today we were hard to beat," McKenna stated. "That's the most important thing going into these games. Obviously we need to score goals, but I think if you're hard to beat and the game's close, I think we have the quality up front that it will come."


For De Rosario, who played on the left hand side of a three-pronged attack, the chemistry between the players was not quite where it needed to be, but he said that it will come with time.

"On the attacking side of things you could see there was a little bit of miscommunication and misunderstanding, but of course those things come with the lack of playing time together," the D.C. United star said. "Hopefully after this game, we'll have a better understanding of each other moving forward."

Canada travels to Havana later this week, where it will take on Cuba in World Cup qualifying at 2 p.m. Eastern on Friday.