Tony Fonseca believes that neither his team's strong start nor the United States' early exit should be considered surprising.KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- In a CONCACAF Olympic under-23 qualifying group that featured the United States and El Salvador, Canada proved to be the biggest surprise, going undefeated and knocking out the Stars and Stripes.
Despite those accomplishments, head coach Tony Fonseca doesn't believe Canada's showing is unexpected nor does he think that the U.S.'s early exit is bewildering.
"Surprised? It's a tough thing to say," Fonseca told Goal.com "All of the teams in our group stage were good. When you look at Cuba, I don't consider Cuba to be a weak team to be honest with you. When you look at the games, you aren't surprised. Things happen."
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Fonseca believes the biggest reason why Canada has been successful is the team's strong showing on defense. Though he insists that the Reds are not a defensive team, he said that Canada's backline has to remain strong to provide success for the team.
"We showed that we are very organized, that we have a desire to win. Something before that the team didn't show," Fonseca explained. "We have a good chemistry going in our favor so we are going to take this opportunity and make sure that we are prepared."
Regardless of Canada's final result in the Olympic qualifying stages, the head coach believes that ultimately the entire national program will benefit from having a prolonged stay. Pointing to the fact that Canada's U23 featured some of the youngest players in the tournament, Fonseca says that the competitive environment will greatly improve each player.
"It's been said before, not by me but coaches in our situation, that when they play an international game it represents four league games," he said. "We are a very young team. Everyone has been made aware that this group needs experience. The more we provide them, the better we will be."