clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Important for Canada to Learn Role of Goliath against Dominica's David

The old biblical reference will be back as Canada opens World Cup qualifying tonight. But the story will be anything but traditional.

Adam Pretty/Getty Images

In sports the story of David and Goliath is perhaps an overused metaphor. That is because it is relevant in so many contexts and situations, there will almost always be a favourite and an underdog.

The metaphor isn't always the same, however: David can sometimes be comically small and the adversity he has to overcome can sometimes be comparable with literally smuggling a rock into his respective sports venue to throw at an opponent.

Canadian soccer has rarely fit into the Goliath role in this scenario, a byproduct of being currently ranked outside of the top 100 countries in the world by FIFA.

It is also because Canada has never really been very good at being a giant: the team tends to play down to their opponent instead of taking advantage of their oppositions shortcomings.

So going into the opening match of the World Cup qualifiers against Dominica the Canadian team know that it isn't just getting a result that matters, it's how they play as well.

"It's something we don't want to overlook, these are very important moments for the team in terms of improving things that we really need to work on," said Julian De Guzman in a media call earlier this week. "Because it's an official match, we also need to get the result."

Last World Cup qualifying cycle Canada also had to play the "minnows" of CONCACAF, however on that occasion they were forced to play six matches instead of two.

The results were up and down. Some of them were shambolic, like a 7-0 victory for Canada in Saint Luca that included a number of ridiculously easy goals. Then there was a horribly forgettable 0-0 draw to Puerto Rico at home. Canada ultimately won with relative ease.

The team has more fire power coming into this tournament with Cyle Larin, Tesho Akindele and Marcus Haber all in good form.

It will also provide a chance to cap-tie the last two, especially considering Akindele's flirtations with the Americans. Canadian manager Benito Floro, however, isn't just looking at this game as a chance to tie up some of program's loose ends.

"It is possible for all players [on the roster] to play some minutes," said Floro, giving a non-committal response when asked whether or not he would use the game to cap-tie the aforementioned players.

The Canadian team will have a little more motivation going into this competition, as in the home and native land the women's team is deservedly being treated like heroes.

While the men's team has always been outsiders when it comes to Canada's national attention, the women are proof that success could quickly turn things around as far as fan support goes.

"The women, in this case, are in good position to call support and to get a lot of people to the stadium," Benito Floro said to media. "For us, it's another motivation, to go ahead and to win the Gold Cup or qualifiers."

Floro has never been shy about sharing his mentality that Canada should aim to be the best in every competition in which they compete. There have been no half-promises, no tempered expectations. If few are listening anyway, does that really add pressure?

It is a step in the right direction in terms of Canada finally adopting a Goliath mentality. It is the kind of mentality they will need in order to get his country to a World Cup, and a World Cup tournament of its own.

It is also need for the men's national team to break into a national spotlight that has kept it out for so long.