Thursday, September 11, 2008

Qualification, so far

I'll admit, I didn't watch yesterday's game. I was at a bar celebrating my friend's birthday and watching a bit of baseball with my usual disinterest. Sportscentre then came on and, to my immense surprise, highlights of the match appeared before even the first commercial break.

Combined with the headhunter's blow-by-blow account of the affair, and a few other reports, I've determined that the team gave what, under normal circumstances, would be a credible performance. The first half might have featured an every-hand-to-the-pump defense (as Jason de Vos might call it), and some sharp goalkeeping for Hirschfeld, but that is the way Canada needs to play against Mexico if we want to steal a result. And Hirschfeld made some believe that he might just do it on his own.

Also of note:
  • Iain Hume might have redeemed himself somewhat after a dismal performance against Honduras.
  • Gerba just seems to score. This goal is his first against a big time team. At the same time, I am beginning to fall out of love with Rob Friend. Maybe he isn't used properly in the Canada squad, but he doesn't bring the same strike rate that he does in the Bundesliga.
  • Hirschfeld is the man. Of the highlights I saw, there a couple of saves that I can't imagine Onstad getting to.
I could rip off more analysis from the Footie Fool, or you could simply go read it yourself. If you make it to the end, you'll see one scenario that would result in qualification. With Honduras winning 2-0 against Jamaica last night, a lot would have to fall our way for things to work out the way I wanted, and even expected, a month ago. Even the CSA's take on prospects is pretty grim:
Canada has a tough battle ahead as it remains in third place with one point in its CONCACAF group after three matches. Canada will likely need three-straight wins, if not a pair of wins and some bad luck to Honduras, if it wishes to advance beyond CONCACAF Stage III in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Qualifiers.
It will be a long month ahead for Canada before its next match on 11 October in Honduras. This is the third-straight campaign in which Canada has just one point after three games, although this time Canada has bettered its output to three goals against tougher teams (it scored one in 2004 and none in 2000). Still, the goals have not been enough to collect any additional points.
The attempt to find the silver lining in the second paragraph is pretty half-hearted.

I'm not sure what else there is to say. It's hard to be too critical of the team after a match I didn't see, which could even be considered a decent result.

Here's qualification to date, by the numbers:

Player Start Sub Mins Goals Yellow Red
Dwayne De Rosario 5
450 2 2
Adrian Serioux 5
450 1 2
Atiba Hutchinson 5
Paul Stalteri 5

Julian de Guzman 5
407 1 1
Mike Klukowski 5
Richard Hastings 4

Tomasz Radzinski 4
Pat Onstad 3

Ali Gerba 2 3 269 5

Issey Nakajima-Farran 3
240 1

Rob Friend 3 1 192

Patrice Bernier 2 2 181
2 1
Lars Hirschfeld 2

Jim Brennan 1 3 135

Iain Hume
3 110

Adrian Cann 1

Olivier Occean
1 9

Marcel de Jong
1 8

I wasn't sure what to do with Patrice Bernier's misbehaviour from the Honduras match. I listed it as 2 yellows and 1 red, but I'm not sure how that scenario is normally recorded in official statistics. Help me out.

Am I right in assuming that Dwayne De Rosario and Adrian Serioux will also be missing Canada's next encounter because they each picked up their second yellow of the qualifying round?

1 comment:

Joe Soccer Fan said...

You are correct sir, no DeRo or Serioux.