Seven things we learned about the Canadian men in seven World Cup qualifying games

EDMONTON — The Canadian men’s national team reached the halfway point of the final qualifying round for the World Cup in the region.

A 1-0 win over Costa Rica here left Canada third in the CONCACAF standings midway through the 14-match round. If the Canadians do not drop in the eight-team competition before it ends in March, the country will qualify for its first World Cup, in Qatar next fall, since 1986.

Here are seven things we learned about coach John Herdman’s squad during its first seven qualifying matches.

  • Don’t sleep on the defense: Canada’s back line conceded just four goals in seven games, tied with the United States for the fewest of any country to date. Whether a three- or four-person unit, the Canadian defense has managed to stay well organized and communicate effectively, striking a balance between technical ability and physical presence.

  • Canada is known as CONCACAF: The Canadians were CONCACAFed, which basically means coming out on the wrong end of a bad call from a referee, in the past, without knowing how to make the phenomenon work to their advantage. This team knows which buttons to press, without causing a disaster.
  • It’s not all about the children: The young core gets most of the attention but veterans also play their part. Goalkeeper Milan Borjan, 34, makes the post-training and post-game pep talks, and Herdman turned to both Jonathan Osorio, 29, and Atiba Hutchinson, 38, at times when he needed someone to take control of the midfield.
  • Eustachius cannot do everything: Central midfielder Stephen Eustáquio is one of only three Canadians performing in all seven matches to date. The 24-year-old is pulling the strings, and will put up a defensive change. But there are nights, like when fellow midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye calmed down on Friday, when Eustáquio has to juggle too much to tie up the play.
  • It is not fixed 11: It would be easy for Herdman to ride his stars every game, but he used 27 players for seven matches. Some of Canada’s best performances came from its depth players, such as backup goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau during the last window and Liam Millar’s ​​performance ahead for Canada on Friday night.
  • If this is David calm down … Jonathan David has not produced moments as striking as attacking counterparts like Davies and Tajon Buchanan, which makes it easy to forget that he has been leading Canada with three goals so far. He needs to be more of a presence of the ball, but if David just gets hot, Canada is in for a treat.

  • There is no fear here: Canada knows it is now a team in this region awesome. The team is leaning toward the newly found reputation, and that confidence will pressure them to jump to first or second in the standings – they’re one point behind the U.S. and Mexico – rather than stay content with a three-place qualification. berthing.
If Jonathan David, on the left, is just warming up, Canada could get a treat in the second half of the World Cup qualifiers.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of conduct. The Star does not approve of these views.

.

Leave a Comment