Departing head coach Colin Miller lamented Canada's lack of finishing, but he said he still feels positive for the program's future.Despite playing arguably its best game of the tournament, Canada couldn't do enough against Panama on Sunday to earn at shot at the knockout stages of the Gold Cup.
In fact, the Canadians didn't score at all – in the 0-0 draw with the Central Americans or in the previous two matches.
"The problem Canada has – and you saw it again today – is in the attacking third," interim head coach Colin Miller said after the scoreless draw. "I'm not apologizing, but we're almost running out of ideas when we get into the attacking third."
Miller was frank in his assessment of Canada's tournament, saying that "other countries genuinely look dangerous" when going forward while his squad was mostly toothless. It was a situation exacerbated by the absences of several players originally named to the Gold Cup roster, especially forwards Simeon Jackson, Russell Teibert and Randy Edwini-Bonsu.
The missing trio left only Marcus Haber and Tosaint Ricketts to lead the line, which other teams adjusted for rather easily. It all equated to a predictable and ineffective offence for the Canadians, and with it an unsurprising group stage exit for the youngest team in the competition.
In Miller's eyes not all was lost, however. The FC Edmonton coach – who filled in as interim for the national team this year while Canadian Soccer Association sought a permanent solution – praised his squad's industry and effort against Panama, even if it couldn't figure things out in the attacking end.
"There was no shortage of endeavour from our players," he said. "We kept going right until the end."
Miller added that, in his opinion, several of the players had supplied incoming head coach Benito Floro with some food for thought as program looks to move forward from arguably its lowest point in a generation.
"They have given – I'm sure – Benito Floro some hope that between the players we have here and the players [who] are unavailable that the Canadian landscape is brighter than some people would give us credit for," he said. "I am very optimistic."
As for his now-completed tenure as head coach, Miller called it an "absolute privilege" to helm a side that he once played for himself. And despite the team not being able to earn a win in his term as bench boss, he has faith in the youth movement that is currently sweeping through the program.
"I believe I've given nine players their first international cap," Miller said. "I believe that – in and of itself – is a success. Sure, people will look at the results and go, it's not what we would have wanted. But in the case of a rebuilding process, you're going to have to take some defeats and learn along the way.
"I've loved every minute of it."
Kyle McCarthy contributed additional reporting from Denver.