Canada will look ahead to Cuba and Suriname after dropping their opening match at the 2017 CONCACAF Men’s Under-17 Championship. Reduced to 10 men, Canada lost 1:2 to Costa Rica on a 95th-minute heartbreaker in Panama in the Saturday afternoon match at Estadio Maracaná.
Canada conceded late in the first half, but then equalised shortly after the break on an Antonio Rocco Romeo header. Romeo was later ejected leaving Canada to 10 men in the 83rd minute.
“We can’t fault the effort as the boys put everything into it,” said Paul Stalteri, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National U-17 Team Coach. “It was gut wrenching in the last minute to concede a goal when you’re down to 10 men, especially in a game where before we went down to 10 the momentum was swinging in our way and we were creating chances.”
Canada scored in the 51st minute after a good drive and shot by Jonathan David earned Canada the corner kick. On the ensuing play, the Faria kick was headed on target by Romeo.
Canada nearly made it 2-1 in the 61st minute after a run by Olakunle Dada-Luke put Costa Rica on their heels. The ball eventually fell to Faria who fired a shot on target, deflecting dangerously off the defender before the outstretched goalkeeper Ricardo Montenegro made the key save of the match.
Canada had another great run in the 65th minute when David got through past the last defender, but he was taken down from behind.
Canada continued to press and won a dangerous free kick in the 83rd minute. Lining up for the play, the opposing players started shoving for space before Fernan Faerron went down and Romeo was shown the red card.
“There are a lot of positives from which to build on,” said Stalteri. “For the amount of effort the boys put in for 95 minutes they didn’t deserve to concede a goal in the last minute. It will be lessons learned, so we move forward and get ready for Cuba.”
From 12 nations, only four will qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017. In Group B, Cuba and Suriname have one point each after a 1:1 draw while Costa Rica leads the group on their three points earned.
All of Canada’s competition matches are scheduled to be broadcast live on CONCACAF’s Youtube channel, with the 25 April Canada-Cuba match kicking off at 15.00 ET / 12.00 PT. Canada Soccer will provide in-match coverage from Estadio Maracaná Panama via Canada Soccer’s digital channels including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Flickr.
“I thought we did very well, so we just need to put it in the past and look ahead to the next two games,” said fulback Jake Ruby. “We need to come out with the same mentality (against Cuba).”
The CONCACAF Men’s Under-17 Championship provides an important opportunity for player development along the Canada Soccer Pathway. The Canadian program aims to develop players that are adaptable to play against any opponent while also expanding the players’ knowledge of CONCACAF environments and opponents.
Alongside their time with clubs, all 20 players have experience in Canada Soccer’s Men’s EXCEL Program. By the time Canada faces Costa Rica on the opening day, this group will have accumulated more than 1,000 days in national youth camps.
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.