Another frustrating night in front of goal led to a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica on Tuesday in Edmonton.
Or at least as much steam as possible for a team in the middle of what may be a trying rebuilding process and without a win in five games in 2013.
Canada went down to a 1-0 defeat to Costa Rica thanks to a Jairo Arrieta first half penalty and will now hope a first victory of the calendar year will come when it matters most—at the Gold Cup in July.
“I can definitely say there’s success," interim head coach Colin Miller said in his postmatch press conference. "I thought this was a very positive performance in possession. I thought the lads completed a lot of passes. Set-plays wise I thought Costa Rica were under pressure for every set-piece.
“If we had hit the target on the occasions that we had free headers it could have been 4-1 tonight. I don’t think there’s anything to be negative about at all other than result, which is not what we wanted.”
Tuesday’s game very much followed the trend of recent Canadian teams. It controlled large spells of possession and created a number of half-chances that it didn’t put away.
While failing to convert at one end, it then conceded on the chances it gave up.
On this occasion, Arrieta went down under not much contact from Samuel Piette, but it’s a lesson Canada’s had to learn time and again: players in the CONCACAF region will try to win a penalty no matter what.
“I’m just absolutely devastated because I think that was probably Costa Rica’s only chance in the first half and maybe their only real attempt at goal in the first half and it came 15 minutes into the game,” Miller said. “There’s lots of positives. I’m still very pleased with our performance tonight.”
In most of the games this year Canada has fielded young talent that’s not getting much playing time at the club level and is still very green at the international level.
The reason for optimism is that there will be more of a veteran influence when Canada lines up against Martinique at the Rose Bowl on July 7.
“You’re going to see more of a complete side going into the tournament and that’s the goal going into the Gold Cup is having a stable side,” said midfielder Julian de Guzman, who was captain on Tuesday. “As long as people are fit and ready to step up to their game I think the expectations will be at a higher level and the wins will eventually come.”
Canada nearly equalized just two minutes after going down when Issey Nakajima-Farran put Nik Ledgerwood’s cross over the bar and Doneil Henry and Andre Hainault put headers wide.
And so the search will continue for Canada as it heads into an important summer—the goals have to start coming from somewhere.