In a country that has caused the Men’s National Team so much grief in the past, without their best player, Canada responded to adversity once again. They went into Honduras and came away with all three points, remaining undefeated through World Cup qualifying, pushing themselves to 19 points, still top of the CONCACAF table.
The USA and Mexico away draws, and the win against Mexico in Edmonton were huge steps, but this may be Canada’s most important win in years. Typically, the away games in Central America have been where Canada slips up in qualifying campaigns. This was only their second ever win in Honduras, with the last one coming all the way back in 1985. Many times losses in countries like El Salvador and Honduras have kept Canada from being able to qualify for the World Cup.
Concacaf has proved over the years that there is never an easy game in qualifying. Just look back to 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, when the USA lost to Trinidad and Tobago on the last matchday to miss out on qualification. There are no gimmies and Canada knows that better than most teams.
The performance was great from Canada from the start. An early moment of brilliance from Tajon Buchanan caused a Honduras own goal to give Canada a 1-0 lead in the first half. After missing a few chances, Canada was bailed out in the second half by brilliant goalkeeping from Milan Borjan, who kept them in the lead long enough to add to it.
One of the many attacking stars in the squad, Jonathan David, made the difference in the second half. His brilliant touch to control a long ball from Liam Fraser put him one on one with the onrushing keeper, who he beat with a left footed chip from outside the box. The counter attacking potential of this Canada squad was on full display on this goal, with David, one of the most prolific strikers in the World showing why so many clubs are fighting for his signature.
As Costa Rica beat Panama on Thursday, Canada now hold a five point lead on fourth place Panama. With just five games remaining, it would seem this is a forgone conclusion. However, there are plenty of matches to be played, and this Canadian team will need more performances just like this one.
With the USA to come on Sunday, and another tough away match at El Salvador on Wednesday, nothing is secured as of yet. But as Canada’s best ever men’s soccer team inches closer to automatic World Cup qualification, the hope amongst the fans continues to build.