On Tuesday night, Canada’s men’s national team played Ghana in a friendly in Washington, D.C. while the Canadian U-23 team played the United States in the third-place game of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.
The U-23s, who had national-program coach Benito Floro with them in Utah, were reduced to 10 men before halftime, and gave up two second-half goals. The Olympic dream is over with a 2-0 loss to the Americans; by taking third, the U.S. goes into a playoff with Colombia for a spot at Rio 2016.
For the Canadian senior team, playing Ghana represented the last tune-up ahead of the Nov. 13 World Cup qualifier against Honduras. For Canada, it was all about bringing in new faces, including Fraser Aird and, ahem, Junior Hoilett. As well, Lucas Cavallini was welcomed back into the Canadian fold. And youngsters Sam Adekudgbe, Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese were also given a decent run out.
Canada drew Ghana 1-1; Marcel de Jong scored a first-half screamer from distance, a shot we can only hope his bosses at Sporting Kansas City were watching. Maybe it will help de Jong fight his way back into the side. Ghana equalized right before halftime and had plenty of chances late to win the game, as the Canadians looked to work on bunkering. Don’t snicker; it’s something Canada needs to work on for those road games in CONCACAF qualifying. Still, Ghana missed a few very good chances from in close.
So, what to take from both of these matches?
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