Thursday, September 13, 2007

Canada - Costa Rica wrap-up

The Canada - Costa Rica friendly has come and gone. Protesters of the CSA and their recent handling of things made their point, I think, and the game itself (a 1-1 draw) was not bad.

A few things come to mind as encouraging signs:
  • Lars Hirschfeld back between the posts. He's missed a lot of call-ups due to flaky or inconveniently timed injuries, but his presence here is comforting. Sure, he was scored upon with Costa Rica's only real chance, but he looked comfortable and strong on set pieces.
  • A dominating midfield performance. With players like Julian De Guzman, Atiba Hutchinson, Dwayne De Rosario and Tomasz Radzinski, as well as the under-appreciated but hard-working Patrice Bernier, it could be argued that this side boasts the best midfield in CONCACAF. In addition, the level of commitment among this bunch seems high.
  • Dwayne De Rosario is still hot. His beautiful strike from a gorgeous De Guzman long ball gives him 5 goals in his last 7 games for Canada, and 12 overall, placing him 4th all-time.
  • Canada dominated. Costa Rica was under pressure whenever they had the ball, while Canada was able to work the ball around their talented midfield.
A couple of discouraging signs:
  • Despite their advantage in quality of play, Canada didn't manage more than the De Rosario goal. It is critical to generate quality chances and capitalize on those you get, and Canada didn't do it well enough.
  • The crowd in Toronto. 9,325 would be a respectable number if the support for TFC had not created such high expecations, but those expectations now exist and can't be ignored. Perhaps ticket prices are to blame. I should mention, though, that the supporters who did show up, especially those in the packed south end, were boisterous and vocal and made for a strong, pro-Canada atmosphere.
  • Hutchinson picked up a knock and couldn't play the 2nd half. It would have been interesting to see if Canada could have turned it up a notch with him out there.
Some match-related downloads for you:

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