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Playing Big: Canada Dominate Dominica In World Cup Qualifying

Winning 6-0 on aggregate Canada got its World Cup Qualifying Campaign for Russia 2018 off to a solid start. It was a strong statement to make on the eve of the Gold Cup.

Paul Giamou / Canada Soccer

BMO Field was more than two thirds empty yesterday as Canada kicked off the home part of their 2015 qualifying campaign. But Canadian soccer fans were in full voice as they demonstrated their excitement for what is ahead for both the team in the next month and the program in general.

For their part, the Canadian men's national team did a pretty good job of stoking the supporter's passions. With a 4-0 victory over Dominica they move on to round three of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying.

At the centre of the excitement were those playing in their first ever qualifying campaign, and who will be counted on to carry this team into the future.

It took Tesho Akindele only four minutes into his home debut to find the back of the net, and he was energetic and dangerous throughout.

Meanwhile, Cyle Larin continued his breathtaking run of form for both club and country. In his home debut for the Canadian national team Larin scored a stunning strike from outside of the box which found the top corner.

But not to be undone, it was a familiar name that was Canada's best player over the two legs: Tosaint Ricketts. The Hapoel Haifa striker has been much maligned in the past by Canadian supporters as he has often been the most obvious venting point for the team's lack of goalscoring.

However, with the aforementioned teammates able to carry some of the offensive burden, Ricketts has had more space and been far more effective. While both of his goals in the match were byproducts of his teammate's play, Ricketts was getting himself in good positions all night.

One of those setups came from Jonathan Osorio, a perfect through-ball after some well worked passing. Wearing the number 10, Osorio had his best game in a Canada shirt. He came very close to scoring his first goal with the national team as well but was denied by both keeper and post.

That keeper, Glenson Prince, deserves plenty of praise for how he played over the two legs. While his defenders imploded around him at times Prince held the line for Dominica. He even stopped a David Edgar penalty to keep Canada at four.

Canada really should have put more past him, but the execution in the final third still isn't where this team would likely want it to be. The good news is it looked pretty good everywhere else. Canada easily won both the possession and midfield battle.

This was largely due to Samuel Piette and Julian De Guzman, who look to be using their Deportivo de La Coruna connection to be forging a solid alliance in the midfield. Piette especially never gave up on a ball, meaning those behind him had little to do defensively.

A game like this will always come with an asterisk: the opponent. Dominica is nowhere near the caliber of team that Canada truly want to compete against, and at times the Canadians did flatter their opponent.

But it was progress, there is no question Canada bossed the two legs and from kickoff of the first leg the result was never in any doubt. That in itself is positive for a Canadian team that never likes to do anything the easy way.

Unfortunately, there was some bad news that came out of last night's match, as Sportsnet's John Molinaro caught up with Atiba Hutchinson who said he was "unlikely" for the Gold Cup. That is a massive blow for the team, as he remains the best player in the country.

When the red and white of Canada descend on BMO Field next, the stakes will be a lot higher. It will be the final game of the Gold Cup group stage against Costa Rica. Yesterday brings hope that when that match takes place supporters will still have reason to be loud and proud.