Canada Soccer will return to Vancouver Island for a 2020 Men’s International Friendly match on 27 March in Langford, British Columbia. The Friday night match will feature Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team against Concacaf rivals Trinidad and Tobago as Canada continues to prepare for FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers in the Fall of 2020. The home match also gives Pacific coast fans a chance to watch some of their favourite heroes while turning Westhills Stadium into a fortress for their Men’s National Team.
With two different qualifying pathways scheduled for the region, Canada are in a chase for a top-six spot in Concacaf on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings in order to compete in the Concacaf Hex (nations 1-6) rather than a more demanding alternate route (nations 7-35). Trailing El Salvador by 30 points in July 2019, Canada have already cut that gap in half and now trail by just 14 points after a trio of matches in January 2020. From Concacaf Nations League matches in the Fall, Canada gained more FIFA ranking points than any other nation in League A.
“We are still in the hunt for the Concacaf Hex and we have cut the points gap in half through Concacaf Nations League,” said John Herdman, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Head Coach. “We are focused on doing our best to pick up points and close the gap on that sixth spot in Concacaf.”
Since the Concacaf pathways were unveiled in July 2019, Canada have picked up 20 points on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings while El Salvador have picked up just four. Canada have also opened the gap on the several nations behind them, notably eighth-place Curaçao (19 points back) and ninth-place Panama (28 points back).
Tickets to the Canada-Trinidad and Tobago match will start as low as $20 via Ticketmaster.ca (or by calling 1.855.985.5000). Ahead of the 20 February public on-sale date (which starts at 10.00 local time), an exclusive Canada Soccer Insiders pre-sale will take place on Wednesday 19 February. Groups of 10 or more will also be eligible to receive discounts on tickets of up to 30%. For complete information on tickets, please visit CanadaSoccer.com/tickets.
“These are important games for Canada and we wanted to play them at home to give the team the best conditions possible to perform with the people of Vancouver Island providing us with that 12th man atmosphere,” said Herdman. “There’s something special about a small stadium when it is jammed packed and sharing these moments with fans young and old from football communities that don’t often get to see their national team heroes in the flesh.”
The 27 March 2020 match will be the first international “A” match on Vancouver Island since Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team played at Victoria’s Centennial Stadium on 4 March 2006. Previously on Vancouver Island, Canada played Olympic Qualifiers in 1983 and 1984 (they qualified for the Los Angeles Men’s Olympic Football Tournament at Victoria’s Royal Athletic Park on 18 April 1984), FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers in 1985 (on the road to qualifying for the 1986 FIFA World Cup™), and Concacaf Women’s Championship matches in 2002 (on the road to qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003™).
The Canada camp will run from 23-31 March in Vancouver, Langford, and Victoria, British Columbia, with the opening part of their camp training held at the Vancouver Whitecaps FC National Soccer Development Centre at the University of British Columbia.
Canada have previously met Trinidad and Tobago 11 times at the international “A” level between 1977 and 2012, including competitive matches at the Concacaf Gold Cup and FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers. Across those matches, Canada have seven wins, two draws, and two losses against Trinidad and Tobago. Canada also won 2:0 over Trinidad and Tobago in a training match before the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup last year.
Already this year, Canada have posted two wins and one loss in three international matches played in January. Since 2018, Canada have won 12 of their 16 international matches. In 2019, Canada reached the Quarter-finals of back-to-back Concacaf Gold Cups for the first time since 2009 and finished second in their group of the inaugural Concacaf Nations League A (tied on points with USA, but second on goals difference). Canada also qualified for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup and the next edition of Concacaf Nations League A.
Canada are two-time Concacaf champions, having won the Concacaf Championship in 1985 and the Concacaf Gold Cup in 2000. In winning the 1985 Concacaf Championship, Canada qualified for the 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico™; in winning the 2000 Concacaf Gold Cup, Canada qualified for the FIFA Confederations Cup Korea/Japan 2001.