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Mexico-slayer Hastings announces his retirement

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Richard Hastings

Within the space of the year, the two Canadian players who created one of the greatest goals in national team history have called time on their careers.

Today, Richard Hastings, who roofed the extra-time golden-goal winner in the 2000 2-1 Gold Cup semifinal over Mexico, announced his retirement from the game. Hastings spent most of his career with Scottish side Inverness Caledonian Thistle, playing there from 1994-2001 and again from 2004-2009.

Canada went on to win the Gold Cup with a 2-0 win over Colombia. But, as sweet as that was, it was a little anticlimactic as the Mexicans, the CONCACAF powers, ranked No. 10 at the world at the time, were the Goliaths at the time. Canada was ranked No. 85 at the time.

Martin Nash, who ran the ball up the field and then lofted a pass to Hastings on the left flank after Canada broke off a Mexican corner, announced his retirement last season and is now working with the Whitecaps’ youth team.

Hastings took the cross, then moved the ball forward to run on to, and slid to the ground as he lashed a shot over Mexican keeper Oscar Lopez and under the bar.

“I have many highlights, memories and friendships to be thankful for throughout my international career,” said Hastings in a release from the Canadian Soccer Association. “Now that I am retired, I will be focusing my efforts on raising the profile of the game in this country through my business The Other Foot Soccer School Canada (in Nanaimo, B.C.).”

The Hastings goal should have created a soccer renaissance in Canada. At the time, there was no shaking the feeling that, under coach Holger Osieck, there was something very special going on with the national side. But, as in 1986, after Canada qualified for the World Cup, the national program could not build on that momentum. Instead of being a harbinger of many good times ahead, the 2000 Gold Cup was a spike, an anomaly.

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