Well, if you've grown weary of watching Canada's senior team, this was a refreshing change. The final stages of an international tournament, Goals, a result, and some quality football to get there. If you didn't track down a dodgy stream to watch this morning, and aren't planning to watch it on sportsnet world tonight (if you have the option, I'd recommend it), there's highlights available here.
The first half did look like it might be a very familiar Canadian story as they played well but couldn't score, Jordan Hamilton with the best effort that was tipped over the bar by the Austrian goalie (Gold from Schlager, ba-dum tish), and then saw the opposition score with their first chance, a ferocious volley that bounced off the bar and just over the line. Austria followed that up with a shot that bounced off the post and just stayed out, going across the face of the goal to safety as Canada wobbled a bit, but they settled and the half ended 1-0. Hanson Boakai had a great chance, put through 1 on 1 with the goalie, but seemed indecisive and took it too close to the goalie before trying to round him and the goalie made the save.
That was a bit harsh on Canada who had played well to that point, but the second half saw then get the goals their play deserved. First up Jordan Hamilton did well to chest down a high ball in the box and then hit a first time shot, he didn't get all of it, but it was enough to beat the goalie. A few minutes later, a goalmouth scramble saw Kianz Gonzalez-Froese get tangled up with an Austrian or two as he tried to get a shot off and so it was a penalty. Up stepped TFC academy player Elias Roubos who did the stutter step run up and calmly slotted it into the corner the goalie vacated. An excellent penalty, but could Canada hold on?
No. A few minutes later a cross came into the box and was very nicely volleyed into the corner giving Marco Carducci no chance.
Both teams had chances after that, Marcos Bustos hit the bar for Canada, Carducci came out and cleanly got the ball when faced with a 1 on 1, Austria had another shot/cross just roll past the post with no-one able to knock it in. As the half went on, players started regularly going down with cramp in the heat, and both sides used all their subs fairly early on because of that. For some reason Andrew Gordon who'd scored in both of Canada's two latest warm up games didn't play a part at all, perhaps that was Sean Fleming looking to preserve the 2-2 rather than going all out for the win.
It ended 2-2 and my gut instinct is that that's a good result for Canada, who could get a result on Tuesday vs Iran and have a very good chance of advancing (top two in each group and then the 4 best 3rd place finishers out of 6). That is of course a gut that knows nothing about the quality of Austria or Iran's under 17 teams (or Argentina's really but I'd confidently predict they'll be good). By the time the group's done, we may be looking back at this one as a chance that got away rather than a solid point gained. Who knows really, there's been a lot of crazy results so far with Nigeria beating Mexico 6-1 this morning as an example.
Anyway, like I said, if you have Sportsnet World, the game's on at 7pm and well worth watching. The next game is Tuesday against Iran at 9am, this one's actually being shown live what with Sportsnet having to worry about it clashing with the EPL, so no dodgy feeds required. With getting a result against Argentina probably out of the question, that game will be the crucial one if Canada are to advance.