World Cup qualifier against Mexico in Edmonton could produce watershed moment in Canadian soccer – .

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World Cup qualifier against Mexico in Edmonton could produce watershed moment in Canadian soccer – .


Team Canada’s Derek Cornelius, left, and Alphonso Davies attend a training session in Edmonton on November 10, 2021. Canada faces Mexico at Commonwealth Stadium on Tuesday.JASON FRANSON / The Canadian Press

Before I left for the Canada-Mexico men’s soccer game, a friend asked me, “Are you still allowed to go to Edmonton?” “

He was the second person to ask me.

Well, apparently I am. There were no crowds waiting at the airport. Taxi drivers did not have my photo ID under the visor.

A few years ago, I wrote something about Edmonton vis-à-vis soccer that the locals didn’t like very well. Like, hundreds and hundreds of rabid emails not well. For example, walking past a bank of televisions and seeing your passport photo appear on the 1984 not good.

I was most impressed with the combination of vigor and restraint in Edmonton’s response. Most of the complaint notes were along the lines of “I’m pretty disappointed with you” – a surprisingly effective rhetorical strategy at any age or stage of life.

I once did a similar issue on a certain country in South America that really knows how to hold a grudge. It was also vis-à-vis football (note: write less football). Their hundreds and hundreds of enraged emails were like, “I’m going to go up there and burn your house down with you in it.” So Edmonton was a good change of pace.

Now that I am within the city limits again, let me say “Mea culpa” and “I come in peace”. We have had our moments. But now we are in the same boat.

At this crucial moment, Edmonton is the beacon of Canadian soccer on the hill. Okay, you can’t see the light because it’s snowing pretty hard as I write these lines. But that’s the point.

Canada takes on Mexico at Commonwealth Stadium on Tuesday. Mexico is the CONCACAF class and it is expected to snow a foot between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.

Winning this match won’t guarantee Canada qualifies for next year’s World Cup, but it will work as a global threat: Canada has finally gotten serious (stop). Pack your long underwear.

There are two good ways to make a World Cup: to be better or to be luckier. Canada hasn’t had much luck with either for a long time.

So he finally figured out that you had to go the third way – use the land.

Many under-gifted and over-performing football countries have been doing this for years. Whenever Bolivia wants to tip the scales in favor of the house, they lead their opponents in La Paz. The stadium sits 12,000 feet above sea level – essentially the same altitude as low-flying planes. Bolivia never loses there (and rarely wins elsewhere).

Hot countries use heat, swamp countries use humidity, and countries with a tenuous understanding of the rule of law use henchmen in the stands. Because it’s called the World Cup, not the Equity World Cup.

Canada was supposed to hold its final Commonwealth training on Monday afternoon, but changed locations due to the weather. The team were worried that someone would be injured.

It seems a little ironic that the same careful guys run a lot harder under much worse conditions on the exact same terrain 24 hours later, but the sport doesn’t make sense. It’s about winning.

Instead, Canada trained in a heated dome. The Prime Minister introduced himself and gave what appeared to be a pep talk. He was far away and had his back turned.

The players all had one of those “Is this a new coach and why is he wearing a tie in training?” Look, but they were kind enough to laugh when he told a joke.

“He just told us that we are all in the same boat as a country,” said defender Steven Vitoria.

As we were all mulling over our great united national house, one of the oldest members of the Canada Soccer setup came by and shouted, “They let you in to Edmonton?

As for the weather, Canadian head coach John Herdman used the word “suffer” a lot. Like he’s really looking forward to doing this personally. I guess he’ll be sidelined in swim shorts and tank top Tuesday night.

Vitoria shrugged not to mention the thermometer: “We feed off the heat from our fans. “

It’s such a cheesy line that it should be buttery, but there’s something about it. It’s not like the Canadian players are out there in mesh jerseys and short shorts. Everyone will be dressed as a soccer snowman.

But what will Mexico do with the people in the stands?

We always hear about how intimidating it is to play in front of 100,000 at Azteca in Mexico. What do these people bring to the party other than a few quirky chants? They put on a t-shirt, go out on the street a few times on the way in, and go out for a bite to eat once it’s done. There is no “suffering”.

In Edmonton, 50,000 people had to dress as if they were working in a meat locker. Dress badly, and they’re not heading for a bite to eat after, they’re heading for the ER. Once it’s over, they go straight home to undress and stay in the shower for an hour.

The Canadian men’s soccer team finally has the players. What is still needed is mythology. Great football teams have legends, whether they are manufactured or organic. You say the name of a certain player, stadium or opponent and people automatically know which iconic night you’re referring to.

Canada has Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David, but none of that. No Mexican fan could name a stadium in this country.

Now that Canada has the full attention of its main rivals, Tuesday night in Edmonton could be the start of one of those legends.

It would have to snow hard enough to be a Snow Bowl for us. But all it takes is a dusting and a beating, and it’ll be a Snow Bowl Mexican football fans won’t forget.

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