Canada’s men’s national team pulled off a 2:2 draw with Venezuela in their last tune-up before the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The Canadians scored early and scored late in their first-ever meeting with the South American nation at the Estadio José Pachencho Romero in Maracaibo.
'We started out playing really well,' says coach Stephen Hart. 'After we scored early, we came off the accelerator a little bit.'
Canada scored just three minutes into the game as Rob Friend crossed a ball that was headed into the net by Dwayne De Rosario. It was De Rosario’s eighth career goal with the national team.
Midway through the first half, Venezuela tied the match with a goal off a free kick. Just two minutes later, they took the lead off another set play.
'We didn’t pass the ball well and that put us in trouble,' says Hart. Hart also says that his team needs to make adjustments on defending set plays.
Close to the end of the first half, the Canucks thought they tied the game, but the referee called it back on the account of an apparent foul.
In the second half, the Canadians outchanced their opposition. The team made five substitutions in the second half, including that of forward Rob Friend for Ali Gerba. Gerba scored the match-tying goal late in the game. It was Gerba’s second career goal with the Canadians.
'It was really good for us to play Venezuela,' says Hart. 'They play much like Costa Rica. It was also extremely hot down here.'
The Canadians fly back to Florida on Saturday morning to begin their final preparations for their 6 June match against Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. After Costa Rica, they play Guadeloupe on 9 June and Haiti on 11 June.
Hopefully the rest of the weekend is equally successful.