The Canadian Men's National Team is coming back to BMO Field!
On September 9th CanMNT will take on Jamaica in a friendly in Toronto. The game was one of two that the Canadian Soccer Association announced on Tuesday. The other game will take place in Panama City on 18th of November.
That game against Jamaica will be the first match on Canadian soil for the team since Benito Floro took charge of the program. With the release from the CSA indicating that additional away dates will be announced as they are confirmed it seems quite likely that this will be the only time that the Men's National Team get to play on home soil in 2014.
The last time that the team was in Toronto was the fall of 2012 when they were still in the middle of World Cup qualifying. They came away with a 3-0 win over Cuba in October of that year which kept them in position to possibly qualify for the Hexagonal round but then that disaster in Honduras and the start of a really bad run of results for the program. In fact, that was the last time that the team won a game.
Canada has not played Jamaica since 2010 when the two sides met in Kingston, Jamaica. That game ended in a 1-0 win for the hosts . Their last competitive meeting came in the 2009 Gold Cup when Ali Gerba scored the games only goal to hand Canada a 1-0 win that sent them on their way towards top spot in the group.
The other opponent that was announced today comes with more of a recent history as Canada and Panama were paired together in the Third Round of World Cup qualifying back in 2012. Canada won the game at BMO Field 1-0 thanks to a goal from Dwayne De Rosario but they lost the return leg three days later by a 2-0 scoreline. That match was dominated by talk of distractions around the players hotel in the days leading up to the game and then a bank of lights going out early in the match causing a lengthy delay. The two countries met again during last summer's Gold Cup with the game ending in a 0-0 draw with a real lack of excitement.
On the whole Canada has a good record against both Panama and Jamaica. They have a winning record against both but recent meetings have been closer. These are the kinds of teams that Canada is going to have to climb above though if they want to move up in CONCACAF. Both countries made it to the Hex last year and though neither managed to qualify for the World Cup they were in that mix. For Canada it will be important to build confidence heading into the next World Cup cycle and know that they can beat this sort of team.
It will also be good to see Canada heading down to an environment in Panama City where the team came away from with a lot of excuses last time. To be successful in CONCACAF they need to be able to win in places like Estadio Rommel Fernandez and the best way to learn how to do that is by actually playing in those hostile environments.
Information on tickets for the game against Jamaica should be available in coming weeks and hopefully it will draw a good crowd. We will pass that information along when it becomes available and hope to see lots of you out at the game this fall.