Canada’s Men’s U-20 Team is heading home after wrapping up a runner-up performance with defender Luca Gasparotto taking home player of the tournament honours at the 2014 Dale Farm Milk Cup in Northern Ireland.
Canada finished the three-match tournament against Mexico, China PR, and Northern Ireland with a record of one win, one draw, and one loss as the countdown to the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship ticks ever lower and each game becomes more crucial for preparations.
“We had some specific tactical aims in our game and this was a chance to look at a few new players,” said Head Coach Rob Gale. “The Mexico game was the benchmark game for us in CONCACAF and it was a good scout for us.”
Opening up the competition against Mexico on Monday 28 July, Canada held out well as Mexico brought a great deal of pressure in the opening half. But in the second half, Canada’s finishing was clinical as Dylan Carreiro and Brody Huitema took their chances in the 48th and 78th minutes, respectively, and Canada came out as 2:0 winners.
Two days later, Canada fell behind when China scored in the 22nd minute but Sadi Jalali equalized 12 minutes later. They could have had another just a few minutes later when Chris Nanco had the ball in the net in the 38th minute but it was called back for offside and the game ended 1:1.
A win over Northern Ireland was the only way Canada would come away with the tournament championship but they conceded a penalty in the 53rd minute and that was the only goal of the game despite late chances by Kianz Froese and Louis Béland-Goyette.
“Overall, in the three games, 18 players started an international game in tournament football which is very positive and going forward it’s given us some decisions to make within the group,” said Gale. “Some of the objectives in camp we’re made, we’ve got lessons learned from some of the games.”