After a disappointing loss to Cuba, Canada’s Under-20 side responded in first-rate fashion on Friday with a commanding 5-1 win against Nicaragua.
The Reds were quick off the mark in the first half with goals from Samuel Piette, Caleb Clarke and Mauro Estaquio. Christian Guttierez made matters worse for the Nicaraguans by getting sent off just before halftime.
Canada head coach, Nick Dasovic, explained to assembled media following the match that he was particularly pleased with his team’s performance in the first 45 minutes.
"We got the result we wanted in the first half. When we went up 3-0 and they went down to 10 men they were up against it. Our boys did well to capitalize on the opportunities we created,” Dasovic said.
Nicaragua did pull one back before the break courtesy of a controversial penalty decision, but Canada would eventually put the game beyond any doubt in the second half. Clarke added a second to his tally and substitute Ben McKendry chipped home for Canada’s fifth of the night.
The win puts Canada through to the quarterfinals where it will face the United States in a game where a berth in next summer’s U-20 World Cup in Turkey will be on the line.
"It will be a special match as part of the Canada-USA rivalry," Dasovic said. "I'm sure they will be up for it just as much as we are."