So, is the sky falling, or is it a dream start?
Judging by Twitter after Canada laboured to a 0-0 draw in El Salvador Tuesday, the jury is split. With the result, Canada now has four points after two games in CONCACAF’s Group A. The Canadians are in second place — three points up on El Salvador and four up on Honduras. Finish in the top two, and Canada is off to the Hex — and the dream to qualify for Russia 2018 is still very much alive.
But, then, why are so many of us so despondent after getting a point in Central America on a field so choppy, it made pastures seem like Bundesliga-level playing surfaces? Is it because we assumed that El Salvador’s “B” team would be little better than a PDL side?
The El Salvadoran side was, well, supposedly devastated by a dispute between its top players and the football federation. Neither side caved, so a new crew of recruits was brought in just in time for the opening Group A matches. But, make no mistake, it’s not like the players the federation brought in were rubes. We saw right-winger Dustin Corea shine as the best player on the pitch for the hour he was on; twice, he forced Canadian keeper Milan Borjan into very good, diving stops. Since signing with FC Edmonton in between the NASL spring and fall seasons, Corea has been a regular starter, a left-footed right winger who loves to shift inside and use his shot.
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