Jairo Arrieta (PK) 15',
|Cautions||Nakajima-Farran 59'||K. Soto 44'|
|Red Cards||Ledgerwood 74'||C. Meneses 74'|
|Substitutions||Ricketts for Edwini-Bonsu 62'
Osorio for Piette 70'
D. Haber for Nakajima-Farran 76'
Pacheco for de Guzman 89'
|A. Rodriguez for K. Soto 58'
J. Smith for P. Herrera 62'
Y. Ruiz for Al. Guevara 67'
K. Waston for O. Rodriguez 75'
A. Aguilar for Arrieta 87'
It seems everyone is rebuilding these days: TFC, Hollywood and even the Canadian national teams. While the women's team are going a little bit better, it seems the men keep on getting mired in the same result. The good news though, is that at least the reboot looked a lot better. But it really doesn't help when you fall to a soft first half penalty in front of just over eight thousand people, but yes, Virginia, it wasn't THAT bad,
Tonight was the first time that the Canadian men had hit the field at Commonwealth in five years, and sure, there were many a time when it didn't look all that great -- the fact that Milan Borjan was under pressure for a large part of the second half, and the young-ish defence losing its shape at odd times, didn't exactly make for the best viewing in the world. But hey, this is a very young team that's trying to shed the weight of THAT game in Tegucigalpa. That fact was clear when interim coach Colin Miller handed a start to 18-year old Samuel Piette. And sure, he was guilty of the takedown of Jairo Arrieta in the 15th minute that led American referee Chris Penso to call the spot kick (which the Columbus Crew striker would duly convert for the only goal of the game,) and if that same Crew striker hadn't struck the woodwork in the 68th minute with Borjan beaten, well, let's not get into that.
But despite the almost TFC-like amount of pressure the Canadians took near the end, there were still a few bright spots: for one, they fought back. Even with time running out, the side forced two consecutive corners, and if not for the woeful lack of finishing, would have equalled or even won the game. And then, there was is home-town boy Randy Edwini-Bonsu, who was all kinds of wild in the Costa Rican half until he was subbed off in the 60th minute. But before he was, he was running the Central American defenders ragged with his speed; something that in the post-game interview Miller heaved lavish praise on, praising the Edmontonian's spark and energy while possibly hinting at a role for Edwini-Bonsu in the upcoming Gold Cup tournament.
He was replaced by Tosaint Ricketts, whom Miller revealed post-game was suffering from stomach cramps. Both were rather effective in the front, and along with Issey Nakajima-Farran (who had an extremely solid game until he was taken off) has probably done enough to put themselves on the final Canadian Gold Cup roster.
And then, there were the TFC players, who seem to have brought their club form to the national level. While Jonathan Osorio came on late to earn his first cap, Ashtone Morgan and Kyle Bekker were largely ineffective, Morgan having some good runs, with probably the best being in the first half when he had a run into the Costa Rica endline that could have been given as a corner. Otherwise, his runs were not as penetrating or effective as Edwini-Bonsu's. As for Bekker was the usual Kyle Bekker that we know
and love, with free kicks that go nowhere, and corner kicks that were constantly off, and almost dodging a red card (more on that in a moment) -- and oh yeah, headers that went nowhere. Sure, they may have forced the chances, but with the way they played, it's probably not much of a stretch to say that the pair's Canadian futures definitely are not looking bright.
And true to CONCACAF, the refereeing was spotty. You may be forgiven if you were watching and thinking if referee Penso's soft penalty call for Piette's takedown on Arrieta was bad, but the handbags in the 75th minute that saw both Christopher Meneses and Nik Ledgerwood ejected after a rough entanglement was a real headscratcher. While Meneses was rightfully sent off for washing Ledgerwood's face with his hands after a clean tackle that Meneses sold as much worse, the fact that Ledgerwood stood there while Bekker would come in and retaliate on his behalf, earning the former the red, that confuses.
But whomever the new coach is, be it Miller or someone else, tonight will probably help greatly in separating the ones who will be kicking off in LA in July, and those who will be staying at home. Miller, in his post-match comments, noted that he asked for positivity and refused to single out anyone for extra criticism. He had been under much duress over the past few weeks over blown calls by referees, but remained graceful and praiseful of the effort shown by the team. It wasn't the best result and Canada certainly deserved a bit more, but hey, we've still got just a little bit of time left before the next World Cup qualification cycle, right? Oh yes, the Gold Cup. Right, right...
As for TFC's foursome? One thing's for sure: besides Jonathan Osorio, it's not looking good for everyone else.
Here are the highlights from the match this evening:
* * *
GOLDEN TROPHIES & KICKS TO THE GROIN
- Golden Trophy: Randy Edwini-Bonsu - Like a spinning Roman candle. Ooh, shiny!
- Kick to the Groin: Ashtone Morgan - Ineffective, frustrating. An anti-Edwini-Bonsu!
- Kick to the Groin: Kyle Bekker - You don't get someone who just got fouled ejected, dum-dum.
- Golden Trophy: Issey Nakajima-Farran - Quiet, but solid.
- Kick to the Groin: Chris Penso - You call that refereeing?