It wasn’t their best performance of the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, but Canada’s Men’s U-17 Team is still dreaming of a FIFA U-17 World Cup berth after scraping out a 3:1 win over St. Lucia at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula, HON.
The team is at least assured of a playoff for a spot at this fall’s tournament in Chile and there’s still a chance of winning Group B and the automatic qualifying spot that goes along with it after goals from Daniel Sagno, Duwayne Ewart, and Ballou Tabla gave Canada the win.
But still with two games in the competition, the game served as a bit of a wakeup for the young Canadians who are at least guaranteed second place in their group.
“I think there was an intensity level we didn’t have and I don’t understand that. Anytime you’re putting on the jersey for your country, there should be no question that you’re ready to play and it doesn’t matter the opponent,” said Head Coach Sean Fleming. “We respect St Lucia in our preparations and everything and the players started being more individuals and that hurt us a little bit.”
Good teams find the way to pull out results and that’s what Canada did on Monday night as St. Lucia did a good job of sitting back in numbers and limiting Canada’s offensive creativity.
Canada and Mexico are tied atop the group with 10 points apiece. Mexico holds the tiebreaker with a +10 goal difference as Canada sits at +5.
Mexico plays Costa Rica in their last game of the group stage while Canada takes on already eliminated Panama. With that big of a gap in goal differential Canada’s best bet to win the group may rest on beating Panama while Mexico drops points against Costa Rica but in this competition, anything is possible.
“The most important thing is we got the three points today,” said Fleming. “We’re at least guaranteed to be in the qualifying game. In some points I was happy. We created some chances but I’m a little disappointed with the players’ lack of discipline today.”
Canada has the last game of the day on Thursday at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula, HON as group play comes to a close. With Mexico playing Costa Rica earlier in the day, Canada will know by game time if they still have a hope of top in the group or if they’ll be finishing second.