Unseasonably cold temperatures have descended on Toronto, and that's just fine for Canada's players ahead of a crucial World Cup qualifier against Cuba.TORONTO - Turnabout is fair play.
In this round of World Cup qualifying alone, Canada has endured games in scorching tropical heat, all night street parties outside the team hotel in Central America, and an awful playing surface in Havana.
So with the Canadians playing host to Cuba on Friday night at BMO Field, it'll finally be a chance for Canada to take advantage of one of the things that makes the Great White North unique versus most of its tropical-bound CONCACAF opposition - the cold.
"It's cold, but I think it's going to be colder for them so we've got to use it to our advantage," Canadian captain Kevin McKenna said following the team's final training session at the blustery Toronto stadium on the north shores of Lake Ontario on Thursday.
"Hopefully we can capitalize on it."
Early autumn in southern Ontario can be a mixed bag, with pleasantly warm days giving way to sudden temperature drops that settle around the freezing mark. The forecast for Friday night calls for a kickoff temperature of around 5 degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit), with the mercury steadily dropping as the match wears on.
Throw in a slight dose of windchill thanks to the never-ending gusts coming in off the lake, and it adds up to a potentially shell-shocked Cuban side that features many players who have never experienced anything less than room temperature.
"It's an advantage," striker Olivier Occean said. "We're used to the cold so I think we were really comfortable today on the pitch, no one complained about the cold.
"Tomorrow it will be difficult for Cuba to challenge us, I think."
The Canadians will need to maximize every advantage they can as they look to win big and gain the upper hand in a tight race atop Group C. A win by Canada could see it reclaim top spot in the group with one match remaining. At the very least, a victory over Cuba will put the Canucks into second place heading into a potentially massive match versus Honduras next week.
When asked if the frigid temperature in Toronto is a good thing, Canada's coach - Trinidad and Tobago native Stephen Hart - smiled.
"For me? No," Hart joked. "But it's good for football, it's good for the game."
Whether it's also good for his team, only time will tell.