Sunday, March 16, 2008

U23: Canada - Guatemala live blog (?)

This post is just a placeholder for now. The game is an earlier start than the other two, so I may not be around to provide commentary, insightful or otherwise.

Here are the details in case you are interested in tuning in:

Canada - Guatemala
3:30 pm local time (6:30 ET, 3:30 PT)

[Live stream] [ CSA match page ]

Canada needs to win, and have Mexico beat Haiti, while not surpassing Canada on goal difference. Nobody seems to be sure of all of the tie-breaking scenarios, but at this point that's getting too far ahead of ourselves anyway. I'm hoping for a coin flip, where Canada has a good history.

T minus 12 minutes: I won't be able to join the action live until the 2nd half, as I'll be sitting on the bus for the next hour or so. But do your fellow readers a favour and post some updates in the comments, I'll be sure to include them when I get home.

The starting lineup has been posted at the CSA site. The players: Joshua Wagenaar, Nik Ledgerwood, Dejan Jakovic, Andre Hainault, Graham Ramalho, Tosaint Ricketts, Keegan Ayre, Tyler Hemming, Tyler Rosenlund, Will Johnson and Andrzej Ornoch.

Ramalho, it would appear, replaces Diaz Kambere, who played the first two matches. Ricketts starts again after Hall took his place to start against Haiti. Johnson is back, but Rosenlund still starts. The omission from the previous starting lineups is Jacob Lensky.

45:00: Here I am. The good news: Canada leads 1-0, on a Will Johnson goal (free kick according to the CSA report). The bad news: they likely need more ---- and as I'm writing, Johnson has scored again! Fakes out the keeper and gets it just over the line before it's cleared! The other bad news I was going to mention is that Canada has blown a lead in both games so far. Let's hope I'm not bad luck.

48:00: I don't know if Guatemala has a second string line-up out there because they are already qualified, but they are getting shredded right now. Ornoch nearly put a shot in at the far post.

50:30: Canada was no luck when it comes to the penalty spot. Johnson gets carded for diving after going down in the penalty area and there seemed to be enough contact to warrant a call the other way.

56:00: 3-0 for the good guys! Ricketts pots a rebound after a Hainault header hit the woodwork from a corner. The corner was earned after some strong work by Ornoch. Good stuff all around!

58:00: A formation comment: After starting the first two matches at right back, Ledgerwood has moved to the left to make room for Graham Ramalho on the right. Rosenlund is in the middle as he was against Haiti, while Johnson seems to be occupying Lensky's spot as left attacking mid.

62:00: FK for Guatemala in a very dangerous spot. Wagenaar's momentum carried him outside the area when he claimed a ball. The shot gets past the wall, but Wagenaar makes a nice save.

63:00: Canada is mostly defending now, which is understandable given the scoreline. But they are giving up more chances when they had a more attacking mindset. I'd love another goal, but maybe that's asking too much.

68:30: Some good defending by Hainault forces a Guat to take a dive in the penalty area. The ref isn't buying it, although no card is in the offing.

69:30: Ornoch gets sodomized by Guatemala #6, who picks up a yellow card. Ledgerwood is down and it looks like cramps, or perhaps he was hurt charging out to block a shot.

73:00: Johnson gets chopped down by a brutal challenge, but not card is awarded. I really like what I've seen from Johnson so far in these 30 minutes. Meanwhile, he takes a long shot and forces a save and the rebound almost falls for Ornoch. Canada needs a sub soon, I think.

81:00: 4-0 Canada! Ricketts scores on an Ornoch feed. This after Canada was under siege for a bit. They were living dangerously. Hall on for Ayre. Ricketts also nearly scored on a similar play minutes later.

85:00: Ornoch is a beast! He is winning nearly everything played his way.

86:00: A cameo for Andrea Lombardo. Will Johnson comes off, after miles of running and lots of hard work, not to mention 2 goals.

89:00: The first appearance of the tournament for Marcus Haber, who replaces Andrzej Ornoch, who has been impressive in every match, without scoring.

93:00: I'VE ACHIEVED A SOCCER BONER!! Kyle Hall left totally unmarked on a corner, the last of the match, and blasts it into the top corner. 5 fucking nil.

It's over. Some quick thoughts:
  • The worst result in Mexico - Haiti would be a Haiti win. That eliminates Canada. A draw is fine, as goal difference is the first tiebreaker. Any Mexico win by less than 5 goals is okay too. I hope Mexico doesn't give up and shit the bed to screw Canada.
  • The broadcast names Johnson the man of the match. I only saw the 2nd half, but I can't argue that choice. Rosenlund played well in his place on Friday, but Johnson has an added dimension with his ability to dribble in traffic and run at players. His 3 goals from less than 2 games lead the tournament. I've been disappointed with his season at De Graafschap (and he likely has been as well) where he lost his starting spot and hasn't played much lately, but in this tournament he has been dynamite, his brain fart against Mexico notwithstanding.
  • I've watched two and a half matches, and I have seen only a few times when Canada's defense has been broken down. Hainault seems to win every challenge he puts a foot into, and overall they are well organized.
  • When was the last time Canada scored 5 goals in any competition (not womens')?
  • What a weird set of games. Canada is outplayed (arguably) by Mexico and draws, but that was also a game they could have won. Then they outplay Haiti but are on the wrong end of a long shot and a fair play snafu. And then this, utter domination of the first place team in the group.
I won't be watching the Mexico match, but I feel pretty good about things now. I'd say Canada have a 75% chance of advancing now, which is much better than I felt about 48 hours ago.

In the other match: At the half it's 1-0 Mexico. That's a great scoreline as far as Canada is concerned, but the one fly in the ointment is that Haiti are down to 10 men. I'm not too worried about them scoring two, but Mexico netting four is another story. Hopefully Haiti can keep holding them off.

If you're keen to watch this Mexico-Haiti match (I don't have the stomach for it, I'm following by way of some forum threads), the same live stream as above is carrying it.

Full time: Mexico 5 - 1 Haiti. If I had been watching this match, I would have had a heart attack. Canada advances with a better goal difference, by one, than Mexico.

1 comment:

Simon said...

The Haitian keeper is now my new hero. He saved Canada's ass.

Most of the rest of the Haitians on the other hand...stunning poor sportsmanship...