High hopes surrounded this Canadian sides advancement to the group stage of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. With what many in the Canadian Soccer community considered the nations best team ever, the hope was that Canada would reach its first World Cup since 1986. However, the first two group matches, both at home have exposed Canada for still being substantially behind the powers of CONCACAF. Canada’s remaining hope probably depends on beating Mexico at home and drawing with the Mexicans in Cancun, while hoping Honduras and Jamaica draw with one another twice. So in other words, Canada is the longest of long shots to advance to the Hexaganol.
Last month the Canadian drew with Jamaica in Toronto and last night after taking a 1-0 halftime lead, Honduras struck twice to sink Canada in Montreal. Ramon Nunez, formerly of FC Dallas and Chivas USA scored both Honduran goals and put his nation in prime position to advance to final stage of CONCACAF qualifying. Honduras is arguably the most talented footballing nation in the region outside the established powers of Mexico and the USA. However Honduras always seems to find a way to slip up in qualifying. But with this win, the nation finally may have hope of reaching its first World Cup since 1982.
Canada’s lack of progress in World Cup Qualifying is from my perspective a fault of an dysfunctional and inept Canadian Soccer Association. Canada has more than enough talent to compete, but right now they do not have the setup or the faith of their players that many others in the region enjoy. I’d argue the starting XI Canada puts out in qualifying matches is third only to Mexico and Honduras in talent (I’d place the US fourth, but the US second among overall talent, not just the starting XI). Irrespective of having professional footballers of note like Juan De Guzman, Rob Friend and Dwayne DeRosario, the amateurish, volunteer driven CSA is the downfall of Canada’s program. The country has proven time and time again it can compete in short tournaments like the Gold Cup. Canada won the 2000 Gold Cup, and were an eyelash away from the finals in 2002 and 2007, losing both matches to the US on suspect calls. But in the longer grind of World Cup qualifying, the lack of support and infrastructure the national team enjoys is fatal flaw which Canada cannot overcome.
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