Simeon Jackson left camp to go and sign for a new club as he landed a deal with newly promoted Bundesliga club Eintracht Braunschweig, Randy Edwini-Bonsu has returned home injured, Nana Attakora never made it to the Gold Cup with a head injury, Will Johnson went home sick, and Russell Teibert is also dealing with illness.
That is all of the problems that Canada are facing heading in to their match against Mexico. They did bring in Kyle Porter to fill in for REB but the options on the roster are severely limited if Johnson and Teibert are unable to contribute. Things have gotten so bad that on a conference call Head Coach Colin Miller joked that Paul Dolan and himself are getting warmed up and ready to go.
Now things are not quite so bad as the team needing to dress Miller and Dolan but considering that Canada had a lot of their top players turn down the call to play in this summer's Gold Cup, losing any players is a hit to the squad's already slim chances.
Coming off the loss to Martinique the Canadians know that they are going to need to pull off the unexpected on Thursday night against a Mexico team that will be desperate for a win. Canada's loss to Martinique was a stunner to many but so was Mexico losing to Panama. The first match day turned the group on its head but on Thursday Mexico will certainly be looking to get things back on track.
Mexico have been misfiring this year which gives Canada a slim hope but unless Canada plays a lot better than they did against Martinique things could end up getting ugly. It is a tough match to call though because of the fact that Mexico have not looked like themselves in 2013. If they keep playing poorly it could be the end of their coaches job and could be the opening that Canada needs to steal a result.
If Mexico does continue to stutter and opens the door for Canada it will still be a big ask for the Canadians to find a way to capitalize. The squad started off with limited quality in the attack and now it has been reduced to next to nothing. Simeon Jackson was the top scorer with only 6 to his name and now he is gone, Teibert and Johnson were both on good attacking form in MLS but Canada could be without both of them on Thursday night, and they are without the pace of Edwini-Bonsu. That does not leave a whole lot of options as Tosaint Ricketts, Marcus Haber, and Kyle Porter don't give MIller a whole lot to work with.
With so few attacking options Canada will need to look to be very solid at the back and keep the game as close as possible. If they can defend well and keep Mexico off the board then they might have the chance to snatch the game off a set piece if they can actually get some good service to the defenders when they get the chance to push forward into the area.
At the senior international level Canada and Mexico have met on 28 previous occasions and history has not been kind to Canada. The Canadians have a record of 4 wins, 8 draws, and 16 defeats over that stretch and have been out scored 19 to 61.
It all adds to to little reason to hope that Canada will get a surprise result in this game. Their only hope is that José Manuel de la Torre continues to struggle to get results out of his team and Mexico finds a way to lose this game. If Canada does suffer a second straight defeat it could bring their chances of advancing past the group stage to an end.
If things do turn ugly hopefully Miller will at least hand some players their first caps and look to give experience to some of the younger players on the roster. Based on the way the team performed in the first match it can't hurt to give some other players a chance to impress.