Canada Soccer

Canada earns three points to remain atop Group D in Concacaf Under-20 Championship

Posted on 4 November 2018 in ↳ Men's EXCEL U-14 to U-23

Second-half substitute Adonijah Reid’s goal in the 79’ earned Canada Soccer’s Men’s U-20 National Team three points against Group D opponent Guadeloupe. The 2:1 victory gives Canada six points and first place in the five-team group heading into a key match day three matchup against Panama on 6 November.

“The three points gives us a real opportunity to control our destiny throughout the tournament. There’s some adversity there so we have to adjust,” said Men’s U-20 Program Director Andrew Olivieri. “We’ve already put this one aside now and we’ll focus in on Panama and be better for Panama.”

Canada came out strong in the first half and dominated possession for a second match in a row, and Guadeloupe relied on goal line heroics to keep them in the match to foil Canada’s attack.

Shortly after a dangerous free kick at the top of Canada’s 18 in the 6’, a poor clearance by Guadelope fell to Michael Baldisimo who headed down to Noah Verhoeven. Verhoeven played a ball into the box to Mathieu Choinière who finished far post to give Canada a 1:0 lead in the 7’.

Three times in the first half Canada looked poised to add to their lead but two big saves by Guadeloupe’s goalkeeper Erwan Regulus and a goal line clearance by defender Mathieu Luce in first half added time.

Guadeloupe equalizied immediately after the re-start, playing through the backline and pulling goalkeeper Alessandro Busti off his line before slotting home in the 46’.

After making three second-half substitutions, Canada were able to break through in the 79’. Substitutes Noble Okello, and Theo Bair combined at midfield which sprung Bair who was played over the top by Okello. Bair took a touch into the 18 and played across the six-yard box to Reid who earned Canada the all-important three points.  

Canada’s starting XI featured Alessandro Busti in goal, Dante Campbell at right back, Julian Dunn and Antonio Rocco Romeo at centre back, Terique Mohammed at left back, and Michael Baldisimo, Mathieu Choinière, Noah Verhoeven, Clément Bayiha, José Hernández, and Jordan Perruzza from the midfield up through to the attack.

In the second half, coach Andrew Olivieri replaced Verhoeven with Noble Okello  and Hernández with Theo Bair (66'), and Perruzza with Adonijah Reid (75’). 

The Canada-Guadeloupe match was one of eight matches at the IMG Center in Bradenton on Sunday 2 November as part of the 87-match 2018 Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Championship.

The road to the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 through Concacaf competition is a challenging task, with Canada's last qualification at a FIFA men's youth tournament in 2013 and last participation at a FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2007. With the revamped format of 34 nations and now five group opponents in the initial phase, ‎Canada will face strong opposition across a tough schedule with five matches in nine days.

"It’s going to be tough qualifying as it always is, but we are at the start of a new journey with our program laying the foundations of culture and tactical identity," said John Herdman, Canada Soccer's Men's National Team Head Coach and Men's EXCEL Program Director. "We have a new Men's EXCEL Program that will begin to expose our players more consistently to those foundations, yet we know that our players are highly motivated and will be giving their best to qualify."

Canada Soccer’s Men’s EXCEL Program channels our nation’s exceptional players into the best soccer environments. The Canada Soccer Pathway works in collaboration with our provincial and territory partners as well as the professional clubs and academies. For Canada’s elite players, the program emphasizes player development on the pathway to representing Canada’s Men’s National Team.

Canada Soccer's Men's National Youth Teams have won two Concacaf titles: both the 1986 and 1996 Concacaf Men's Youth Championships. Canada have qualified for eight editions of the FIFA U-20 World Cup and six editions of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

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