Canada starts Panama trip with 1:0 win in U-20 friendly
Posted on 20 January 2017 in ↳ Men's EXCEL U-18 to U-20
Canada kicked off their two-match Men's U-20 International Friendly series with an away 1:0 victory over host Panama on Thursday 19 January. The two sides continue the series on Saturday as part of both nations' preparations for the 2017 CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship.
Shaan Hundal scored the lone goal of the match in the fourth minute while Dayne St. Clair and Thomas Hasal each posted clean sheets while splitting the goalkeeping duties at Estadio Agustín Muquita Sánchez.
"The work rate and the commitment were there," said Rob Gale, Canada Soccer's Men's National U-20 Team Coach. "It was important that some of our players got through 90 minutes (from which) we can now build on this base. We will continue to build our fitness and strength (as) we keep moving forward."
Canada are now in important stretch with less than a month remaining until the opening match of the CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship. Canada will kick off against Honduras on 17 February in San José, Costa Rica. Canada will also face Mexico (20 February) as well as Antigua & Barbuda (23 February) in a difficult group that will advance only two nations to the second round.
From 12 nations split into three groups, four nations will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017. After the opening group phase, six nations play two or three more matches through to the CONCACAF final on 5 March.
In Panama, Canada have traveled with a group of 19 players after a successful camp in Toronto. Sixteen of those players featured in the Thursday win over Panama, with the full rotation of 19 players expected to share the minutes over the pair of international matches.
Beyond Panama, Canada will have one more camp in early February in Mexico. The travel and away camps will help support Canada's preparations for the CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship, but also help the overall development of the players in Canada Soccer's Men's EXCEL Program.
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 territorial 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 in international soccer.