Saturday, September 06, 2008

Canada-Honduras live blog

WORLD CUP QUALIFIER
CANADA VS HONDURAS

6 September 2008

Stade Saputo, Montreal, Quebec
8 pm ET / 7 pm CT / 4 pm PT

Live on Rogers Sportsnet East and Atlantic (tape-delayed on West and Pacific)
Internet streaming video: Sportsnet :: others


The nervous hours before the game kicks off are upon us. I'm trying to fill this time by being relatively productive: dishes, laundry, finishing off my summer Dickens read, watching baseball, and perhaps a little later checking out how a severely undermanned Toronto FC squad is able to perform.

First things first: the fridge is stocked for the evening, and it's a Canadian brew. If you're drinking tonight, make sure you take the same approach. No Red Stripe or Corona or Salva Vida until the end of qualifying. Today's choice is Sleeman's Original Draught, a reliable brew.

Bottoms up!

Make sure to check back closer to game time for updates from me or our special liveblog correspondent, Headhunting Canuck.

[ CSA fixture link :: PDF match tracker ]

Keep checking the above for match lineups. The 20 players listed in the fixture link are the original 22 announced by Mitchell last week, minus Daniel Imhof (injury) and Greg Sutton (baby duty).

It's Lars in goal. Gerba is also starting over Friend. The other starters are unchanged from the Jamaica match.

CANADA: Hirschfeld, Stalteri, Hastings, Serioux, Klukowski, Bernier, de Guzman, Hutchinson, De Rosario, Radzinski, Gerba

Issey Nakajima-Farran and Olivier Occean are the 2 players not to make the 18-man squad (Jazic, McKenna, Brenna, Jakovic, Friend, Hume, and Onstad are the bench contingent).

I like Lars starting (I said as much earlier this week -- maybe Dale Mitchell is a fan of this blog). Even though he hasn't played a lot lately, I don't see him doing anything to lose the game for Canada. I can't say the same for Onstad any longer.

Regarding Gerba over Friend, I can understand the logic. Gerba scores (9 goals in 20 caps, or something like it), but Honduras is hardly St. Vincent or one of the CONCACAF lesser lights that Gerba has scored upon. Friend's contribution to the squad, in terms of holding up the ball and distributing to the wings, is important. I expect Rob will see the pitch at some point.

20 minutes away!! Beer #2 in progress.

To get some good vibes going, watch Julian de Guzman's virtuoso performance from a match against Costa Rica in last year's Gold Cup:


Julian was great against Jamaica, and I don't expect any less tonight. Others will have to step up, as well.

(I needed something to refresh my visual palate after I saw Sweater Vest Stephen Harper and one of his non-election ads).

It's early (anthems only, Honduras has a very imperialist sounding march), but there's more Honduran support in the stands than I had hoped. Canada is in white, which surprises me a bit.

In case you're wondering, Mexico beat Jamaica 3-0 earlier this evening.

2nd: Lots of talk right now about the pitch. They showed the patch job they did earlier today, and it was ugly. Hopefully it holds up; if not, bring on Friend and play long ball.

4th: FUCK YEAH! GET IN! Mr. Furious, Adrian Serioux, heads in a corner. Brilliant delivery by Bernier. 1-0 CANADA - BONER!

Before Canada scored, I was going to mention that the midfield configuration, as well as personnel, is the same as it was for Jamaica. I had hoped that Bernier would slide into the defensive midfield role to free up Hutchinson and de Guzman, but he is playing on the wing.

The pitch is taking a beating already.

12th: Not much to add right now. Canada looks sharp, and Hirschfeld has only had two very safe touches of the ball.

16th: Things heat up all of a sudden. Good buildup from Canada, and a ball into the area almost finds its way to Radzinski who is knocked down, probably cleanly. At the other end, Suazo dives in the box, but the ref isn't buying it.

Radz cut his hand somehow, and is bleeding. He needs to get fixed and hasn't returned yet.

Being jittery for 90 minutes on end is rough. There is a fruity fly buzzing around the living room that will soon make me apoplectic with rage.

21st: The word is that Hume will need to replace Radzinski. Corner to Honduras now. Honduras had good pressure when Canada was down to 10 men, let's see if a full strength Canada can regain their advantage.

25th: Our man Klukowski wins a good battle with the Honduran #6, and looks good doing it. We love you Mike.

30th: This ref lets a lot of borderline tackling go unpunished. I suppose, on balance, this favours Canada, but it doesn't mean I don't jump up out of my seat when de Guzman gets sliced down from behind.

The most dangerous chance for Honduras so far gets deflected by a Canadian defender.

43rd: Bernier sent in De Rosario on a break away, but it was whistled for offside. Very close. Honduras has been the better team for a while, and Canada hasn't looked as positive since Radzinski went out. Like Craig has been saying, we need another goal.

45th: Holy shit! So close - a testing Stalteri cross on the rush fins Gerba who hits the post. The following corner results in a few chances. Then Stally nearly nets an own goal at the other end.

HALF TIME: I'll take a break for a bit. Maybe our friend will fill in for a time. My instant analysis is that Canada is sitting back too much, but also haven't allowed too many quality chances to Honduras. OK, they have -- one is too many -- but the possession Honduras has enjoyed hasn't put Hirschfeld under too much pressure.

Hume has not looked good since he came in. He gets back to defend well, but then gives away the ball with poorly hit or ill-advised passes. That's not to say he shouldn't have come on: the Hume for Radz swap was always in the cards, it just wasn't expected so early.

(If you're enjoying this action, click on the ads at the top of the page a bit. It'll help pay for the next beer that I crack open, or give me a start towards my inevitable psychiatric treatment.)

48th: It's happening again... Stalteri gets confused about who he should mark, and allows an easy ball across the box and Nunez scores. 1-1. I hope Honduras gets devastated by a hurricane.

54th: I wonder how long until the inevitable incomprehensible referee decision.

Nunez scores again. Good bye, South Africa. 1-2. I blame Stalteri again, but Hastings also didn't do enough.

Brief live blogging hiatus -- I need to cool off.

Later: Bad has become worse. A while after Friend came on for Gerba, probably a smart move, Patrice Bernier has got himself ejected. I don't see Canada rallying for a win in 10 minutes with 10 men. Even a draw seems highly unlikely. I couldn't be more dispirited.

To compound this misery, I just checked in with a live scores website, and saw the schedule for Group C action tonight: Costa Rica vs Suriname, and El Salvador vs Haiti. Are you kidding me?

How different might things have been in this one had Gerba's header gone in at 45 minutes? A game of inches.

Now Captain Useless, Jim Brennan, is on for Hume. Grasping at straws, Mr. Mitchell?

FINAL: The dream is dead.

I would congratulate Honduras for being the better team, but they are bunch of diving, whiny bitches who don't respect the game, so they haven't earned it.

I'm pretty upset about how Canada played. The easy route is to blame Mitchell, but its the players on the pitch who decide games, and they looked disinterested at times, and simply didn't want it enough.

8 comments:

Footie Fool said...

Nice bevy choice. I was going to go with the beaver bottle myself, but in the end went for Moosehead.

Either is a much better choice than the obvious swill Molson Canadian.

Headhunting Canuck said...

Footie Fool

I went with a moosehead as well, only stuff I had in my closet that was Canadian, no fooling around this time.

Headhunting Canuck said...

I'm going with the thought that when Gerba was in last game, Canada was able to get the ball in the box better, not enough good chances were created especially in the 1st half with Friend up front.

Headhunting Canuck said...

J,

You just had to go after the costa rica referee didn't you... not sure if you had noticed that one yet, but nice pull with the video.

Brad said...

wow...the pitch is just horrible...let's hope for some lucky Canadian bounces tonight.

Brad said...

yeah baby!!! perfection...just perfection. 1-0

Headhunting Canuck said...

I would J, but I have no powers to be able to edit posts you have already started.

J said...

hhc,

That's interesting. I was kind of wondering how permissions worked when there are two authors.

Anyway, I had to switch rooms and can no longer blog and watch simultaneously.