Relief for the Canadian men’s team as it scores four in Gold Cup opener By Gavin Day Posted on July 7, 2017 0 0 168 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Alphonso Davies runs at the French Guiana defence. PHOTO: CANADA SOCCER The players may try to not show it, but if the reactions from Canadian fans is any indication, a mountain of relief has swept into the Canadian program. Not only did Canada score four times and registered a first victory at the Gold Cup since 2011 with a 4-2 win over French Guiana on Thursday night, but Canada’s youngest player is showing no fear of the spotlight. Oh, and he’s also now cap-tied, to boot. Canada has been waiting on Alphonso Davies to get that Canadian passport for a while and now that he has it, he’ll already be heralded as the future of the Canadian program looking for a talisman. “He’s probably the most exciting kid—he’s still a kid, that I’ve ever played with and seen with my own eyes,” said Scott Arfield also scored and added an assist on Dejan Jakovic’s fortuitous goal in the first half. “By far he’s the most technically gifted, humble, modest young man that I think is going to go from strength to strength.” Head coach Octavio Zambrano is taking over Canada at a fortunate time, with a number of young players just making their first forays into the international game. Davies, foremost among them, showed on Friday night that he’s not daunted by all that goes with CONCACAF soccer. He’s 16. And he’s already showing early signs that he could be a game-changer for Canada. “He is a very humble player with tremendous tools. How far he can go and how far he can reach is really for all of us to watch and all of us to enjoy,” said Zambrano. “He’s going to be a good one. His age doesn’t really play too much on our minds.” It’s easy to look at the victory in and of itself but there still were things that need some work. Maybe it was because Canada surprised itself by being up three goals with lots of time left, but there was a dip in the performance that allowed Guiana to come back into the game. The metaphors would have been easy had Canada conceded a third goal as spectacularly heavy rains fell at New Jersey’s Red Bull Arena. The back line was exposed for pace once or twice and it will be interesting to see how they choose to line up in Houston against Costa Rica in weather conditions more fit for a steam room than a soccer game. “It didn’t really quite happen the way we wanted but I saw glimpses of what I want from this team,” said Zambrano. “We had a breakdown at one point that we really needed to be cognisant of and need to examine. We will watch the videos on how we can correct it but you can’t ask for everything in the first match.” “It was good enough for three points and at the end of the day, that’s what matters.” In truth, anything other than a victory in New Jersey would have had the peanut gallery out deriding a team that couldn’t beat a French Overseas Territory. But French Guiana was a challenging team. When it’s been six years since Canada last eked out a narrow victory over another territory in Guadeloupe, it’s hard to look at a night when Canada scored four times and had young players making meaningful contributions as anything other than a net positive and something on which to grow.