Canada needs win against Costa Rica to keep going in Gold Cup tournament
Canada is hoping history and home-field advantage will help it survive a little longer in the Gold Cup. A goal or two would help as well.
The Canadian men (0-1-1) play Costa Rica (0-0-2) at BMO Field on Tuesday, essentially needing a win to advance to the knockout round of the CONCACAF championship.
“There’s a sense of urgency,” said Canadian captain Julian de Guzman. “We realize the situation we’re in at this point. I mean (Tuesday’s) game is pretty much like a final.
“This time we’re at home. We’ll have the support of our fans,” he added.
Canada has not been beaten at BMO Field since a 2-0 loss to Peru in September 2010. The men have gone 6-0-4 there since and have won their last four games in Toronto.
But the last time they lost in Canada was to Costa Rica, 1-0 at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium in May 2013.
Canada is ranked 103rd in the world by FIFA while Costa Rica is No. 41.
Jamaica leads Group B with four points with Costa Rica and El Salvador on two and Canada on one.
The top two teams in each of the three groups as well the two best third-place finishers advance to the quarter-finals.
The Canadian men could win their pool. Or they could exit the tournament, as they did in 2013 when they went 0-2-1 and failed to score.
Two years later, Canada’s young strike force still has to find the net.
“The difference-maker has just come down to putting away our chances, because we do get chances,” said de Guzman.
Canada’s career record against Costa Rica is 5-7-7.
Like Canada, Costa Rica knows a win will open the door to going deeper in the tournament.
No. 76 Jamaica (1-0-1) meets No. 88 El Salvador (0-0-2) in the opener of the Toronto doubleheader, which marks the first time the Gold Cup has come to Canada.
The Canadians will be without defender Nik Ledgerwood and midfielder Samuel Piette, both of whom are suspended due to yellow-card accumulation.