But the young Canadian team sent a powerful message of defeat, demonstrating that they are a team to be reckoned with in the region that spans North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
“I’m proud of the guys, but to be honest. It’s hard to take at the last minute, said Canada coach John Herdman. “We feel it. “
Hector Herrera’s goal deep in stoppage time was the coup de grace in a game that looked destined to go into overtime. Instead, Mexico will travel to Las Vegas to face the United States in Sunday’s championship game.
The Canadian men, currently ranked 70th in the world, deserved a better fate against 11th-ranked Mexico. After trailing 1-0 at the break, Canada activated it in the second half and put their best foot forward against the mighty CONCACAF.
“We wanted to show tonight that we are more than that (Canadians) of courage and resilience,” Herdman said. “We can play. And we can compete with the best in CONCACAF.
“Some of these men came of age tonight. “
Tajon Buchanan equalized Canada with a scoring goal and goaltender Max Crepeau saved a penalty on the evening.
There was seven minutes of time out, but it was extended after Canadian defenseman Alistair Johnston needed treatment for a blow to the head. And so on, Mexicans take advantage of it.
Substitute Rodolfo Pizarro, with a superb heel, sent the ball into the Canadian penalty area. Canada failed to clear the ball and it came back to Pizarro who, despite three Canadians around him and a line of five defenders lined up in front of goal, sent it back to Herrera at the edge of the box where he had shot with the left foot. shot at home.
The late goal sparked a scrum between the players as blood boiled, not for the first time this evening. Players on both sides scrambled as officials struggled to regain control.
The Canadian men were hoping to reach the final for the first time since 2000, when they won the tournament, knocking out Mexico along the way. Canada had not beaten the Mexicans since, having won no victory in eight games (0-6-2) while being dominated 16-4.
“In the past it might have been a turnaround or a blowout,” winger Richie Laryea said of Mexico. “But today we showed that we can face anybody… I think there are a lot of really good things we can do because we played one hell of a game. And a lot of guys showed up today. “
“We can compete with anyone in CONCACAF. We have proven it, ”added Crepeau.
Canada’s only other loss at the tournament was a 1-0 loss to the 20th-ranked Americans in the preliminary round. The Canadians conceded a goal in 20 seconds, but then rallied to put the United States under pressure for the remainder of the game,
US coach Gregg Berhalter summed up his team’s game as an incredible start followed by “a lot of pain”.
On Thursday it was Mexico’s turn to gain the upper hand in a game that saw emotions soar with Mexico awarded two penalties following a video review, Crepeau stopping the second penalty kick after that Buchanan tied the game at 1-1.
The elusive and quick Buchanan has been a force throughout the tournament. Herdman expects the 22-year-old New England Revolution winger to land in one of Europe’s top leagues sooner rather than later.
“He’s just one of the many lights shining tonight,” said Canada’s coach.
Mexico had 60.4 percent of possession and led Canada 14-9 (7-3 on shots on target) with 458 assists compared to 299 for Canada. But Herdman changed to a 4-4-2 formation in the second half, pushing Buchanan ahead, and the changes caused problems for Mexico.
Herdman, known for her motivational skills, showed her side in match preparation during Canada’s 2012 women’s performance at the London Olympics. The women coached by Herdman pushed the Americans into overtime in a semi-final loss before rebounding to beat France for bronze.
Mexico was a mountain that Canadian men were unable to climb.
Heading into Thursday’s game, Canada’s record against the Mexicans over the past 20 years was 1-11-3, with the Canadians outscoring 40-10.
The two teams will meet in the final round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.
Canada should then be able to field an even stronger formation. Herdman was without Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Atiba Hutchinson, Milan Borjan and Scott Arfield, who were injured or unavailable for the Gold Cup. Forwards Cyle Larin and Ayo Akinola were injured earlier in the tournament.
Thursday’s game was put on a halt in the dying minutes of regular time due to offensive chants from some areas of the sold-out crowd at NRG Stadium. The crowd was overwhelmingly pro-Mexican, as evidenced by the boisterous and enthusiastic rendition of the Mexican anthem before kick-off.
The United States beat Qatar’s No.58 1-0 in an 85th-minute goal from Gyasi Zardes in the previous semi-final at Q2 Stadium in Austin, TX. Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, was the guest of the region’s championship covering North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Mexico took the lead in stoppage time in the first half after a penalty from Orbelin Pineda. Cruz Azul’s midfielder hesitated just before launching his kick, freezing Crepeau before calmly pushing the ball into the corner.
The goal came after a stint of wild play.
Mexican players were furious when Jamaican referee Daneon Parchment failed to score the penalty spot after Jesus Corona, taking a nice through pass after Canada lost possession in midfield, fell while he was trying to decide between defenders Doneil Henry and Johnston.
Seconds later, Edson Alvarez shot Laryea down in front of the players’ bench and a bloody melee ensued with players on both sides involved. When the dust settled, Parchment pointed the finger at the spot after the video review with Henry’s yellow card for taking down Corona.
The Mexican players ran to midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos in the celebration of their goal. Her father died earlier today.
Canada equalized in the 57th minute thanks to a fine individual effort from Buchanan, who was the Canadiens’ dangerous man for much of the tournament.
Mark-Anthony Kaye started the game, with a long, perfectly weighted pass that found Buchanan alone on the flank. Hips swiveling through several strides, Buchanan became defender Carlos Salcedo and beat goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera at the far post. Salcedo and the Mexicans hoped the offside flag would be raised, but it remained lower as the 22-year-old Buchanan celebrated his first senior goal for Canada in nine appearances.
A second penalty was awarded to Mexico after video review with Kaye judging to have fouled Corona in the corner of the Canadian penalty area well away from goal. But a diving Crepeau stopped Salcedo’s penalty attempt in the 66th minute to keep the score tied.
Before the first goal, Canada had looked calm and well organized despite Mexico’s dominant possession.
Mexico probed Canada’s defense from the start, looking for ways to break through a backline that often contained five defenders. The Mexicans had 62.3% possession in the first half and dominated Canada 8-3 (4-0 for shots on target).
Both teams had late chances.
Canadian substitute Theo Corbeanu forced a good save from Talavera in the 77th minute after another dizzying run from Buchanan. Then Rogelio Funes Mori’s header went right next to the Canadian goal in the 86th.
Canada also won the tournament in 1985 in its previous incarnation as the CONCACAF Championship.
Mexico have won the event 11 times and have finished second twice. He hoisted the trophy in four of the last six tournaments (2009, 2011, 2015 and 2019). The United States won in 2013 and 2017.
Thursday was Canada’s first trip to the semifinals since 2007, when it was third.
The match also marked a return to the stage where Canada lost 3-2 to Haiti in the 2019 tournament, taking a 2-0 lead in the quarter-finals. Canada had already lost 3-1 to Mexico in a group game.
Canada were without captain / defender Steven Vitoria and forward Lucas Cavallini on Thursday, both suspended after receiving a second yellow card. Henry and Tesho Akindele made the only two changes to Herdman’s starting lineup.
Junior Hoilett was captain of the team instead of Vitoria.
The starting Canadian 11 entered the game with a total of 214 caps with Jonathan Osorio (41), Henry (37) and Hoilett (35) representing 113 of them.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 29, 2021