I've been a bit down on soccer in the last few days. After the Montreal Impact discovered one of the more painful ways to lose, the Canada U20s followed that up by losing with an old school, straight-up disappointment, 1-0 against Trinidad and Tobago.
But maybe I was wrong to give up hope so easily. I'll admit that I was foolish enough to be excited about this tournament. The right approach is to expect the worst, and then cherish every last shred of success.
There was no way to watch these matches without buying a plane ticket to Port of Spain, so I spent a good part of Saturday afternoon trolling the internet for updates. During that informational odyssey, I came across a Trini soccer board. The posters there suggested that Canada and T&T were the teams to beat in the group, and the Costa Rica and Mexico were the weak links. I dismissed that as typical Carribbean bravado, but perhaps they were right.
Today, I tuned in halfheartedly to the tickers and text-based updates from the match. Things were setting up nicely for disappoinment. A scoreless first half against Mexico, inevitably followed by an 84th minute goal against. Right?
Then this typical Central American display of fair play:
Then in the 52nd minute, trouble struck as captain Nana Attakora-Gyan went down with an injury as was unable to continue. A few minutes later, Mexico was able to dribble in for a shot and Paris Nakajima-Farran fell to the ground. Canada played the ball out, but Mexico threw it back in before Nakajima-Farran could get up. An ensuing pushing match in the box led to a Shaun Saiko ejection.Spells bad news, right?
Wrong. Queue the pint-sized Whitecaps wunderkind:
75 Goal scored by canadian player Randy Edwini-Bonsu.And we have 2-0 final.
83 Goal scored by canadian player Randy Edwini-Bonsu.
Now, if Canada wins on Wednesday against Costa Rica, they advance, and qualify for the U20 World Cup. Other combinations of results could also work. If we abide by the transitive property Canada should win, as Costa Rica only managed to beat Mexico 1-0. Of course, reasoning that way in sports is pure poppycock.
Coach Tony Fonseca will have to shake things up a bit, as Shaun Saiko will be suspended, and as likely as not, Nana Attakora-Gyan will be out injured. Going by his moves today, Ethan Gage is the man to replace Nana at the back.
Anyway, I might just be foolish enough to hope again.
Speaking of foolish, the host cities for this summer's Gold Cup have been announced. I don't have much to add that hasn't been included in that thread. However, here is a summary of how unlikely it is that I'll be attending any matches:
Chicago is the short trip at 1393 km, and they'll only be hosting one of the semis.
Seems a bit ludicrous to spread matches across 13 cities (at most 2 per city, by the looks of it).
Last but not least, check out this newly discovered (for me) Canadian footy blog: The Maple Leaf Forever.