Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Canada Looks to end San Pedro Sula Nightmare

It's been 1,145 days since Canada's 8-1  shocking loss to Honduras that ended Canada's hopes of Qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. 
The pain from that game still hurts, but now it's time for redemption. Canada will travel down to San Pedro Sula for a astronomical game in Canada's quest to advance to the Hex for only their second time ever. 
It's a game where the faithful wait inpatiently for Friday at 5pm ET time as Canadians wait for Canada to break through on a big stage for the first time in over 20 years. 
Unfortunately, when Canada plays a Central American team, they are playing against the fans as well as the field turf and the scorching hot weather that will be waiting to greet them when they land in the country that has hunted them during the last three World Cup cycles. 
I'm not sure where Canada turned the corner. It might have been their impressive Group Stage win at the 2009 Gold Cup that made the players believe that they can compete with CONCACAF's best. Next came a surprising 2014 World Cup cycle that was derailed when leading all time goal scorer Dwayne De Rosario went down with an injury. 
That Semi Final stage didn't turn out as Canada planned. Nevertheless, Canada established a standard of what other cycles can measure themselves by. That standard would be controlling  their own destiny during the final game of the Semi Final stage. 
Ten Years ago, Canada was a team that had the potential to tie their home games and lose a close game on the road. Any win at the Semi Final stage seemed too much to ask for. 
Now, when Canada plays at this stage, anything but a win at home is a disappointment and anything but a draw on the road is a disappointment. For me, that's progress even though Canada's goal differential so far does't show it. One goal scored and five goals conceded. 
But still, there is life. For the sake of the Canadians this time around, lets hope they at least go down fighting this time. If they don't, everyone that has jumped on Canada's banwagon since last November will jump off. Lets face it, the banwagon seems quite full right now with viewing parties set up across Canada in the major cities. 
For the last five years, Canada has climbed closer to making a Canadian Men's soccer game something to get excited about. A crucial result  on Friday and Canada will take a huge step forward. 
Four years ago, there was no grey area. A draw and they were in the Hex. A loss eliminated them. This time around, they can't clinch a spot in the Hex or be eliminated on Friday no matter what happens and that might be a good thing for Canada and they can play more relaxed. 
The one thing that is the same, the room for error is razor thin. 

1 comment:

  1. Given how they played against Honduras last November in Vancouver, we can only hope they play just as solid in San Pedro Sula tomorrow. Regardless of the end result these next few days, we can certainly be proud of our Boys and the progress they've made since the last World Cup qualifying cycle.