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Home is Where the Heart Breaks: Canada Eliminated from Gold Cup After Costa Rica Draw

It was their best performance of the tournament, potentially of the Benito Floro era, but it wasn't enough to see Canada to their goal of reaching the CONCACAF Gold Cup knockout stages.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

For a moment it seemed like Canada had pulled off the upset against Costa Rica. Marcus Haber had found the back of the net and the crowd in the south end of BMO Field was cheering wildly.

When that goal was eventually disallowed due to a correct offside call the momentary fairytale was over and reality set in: this was going to be another one of "those nights". It was, as a 0-0 draw eliminated Canada from the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Disappointment has come to be synonymous with Canadian soccer, and this tournament isn't going to help that any. No wins, no goals and just two points at the end of the day can in no way be deemed a success of a tournament.

It also wasn't the complete failure that seems to be the consensus opinion after Canada crashed out of yet another major tournament in unspectacular fashion. Sometimes progress is painful, and this was definitely progress.

Ask anyone around the Canadian national team setup and they will tell you the same thing: the program has come a long way from 2013 and the last Gold Cup tournament. The players all committed and want to be playing for the team, and the professionalism around the program is increasing.

Canadian manager Benito Floro certainly made a lot of mistakes in his first tournament in charge of this team, but perhaps his biggest was overhyping the quality of the team. While it was refreshing to see a Canadian coach be optimistic, he had many expecting a Copa America appearance.

When the team fell short, due to a combination of tactical errors, underperformances and being a team still in development people called for his head. Sure, he said some pretty ridiculous things in his postgame press conference, but no more ridiculous than it would be to fire him at this point.

On its own this would have been a result to celebrate for the Canadian national team, and certainly would have been should they have hung on for just one more minute against Jamaica. It was likely the team's best game of the Floro era.

Everything that they were criticized for in other matches they showed in this performance. They were strong and confident on the ball, they played with emotion and the will to win and they twice came within inches of scoring a goal that would have sent them to the quarterfinals.

They did so in front of a strong Canadian crowd, who made plenty of noise throughout the full 90 minutes. While it wasn't the crowd many would have hoped for, over both games it was still a strong indication of what Canada could offer as a potential Gold Cup host in the future.

In the end this team will only get stronger going forward. As Benito Floro mentioned after the game, the team was without a number of crucial players for this tournament. Other years that would have hurt Canada a lot more than it did this time around, the depth really is getting better.

With Atiba Hutchinson, Will Johnson, Doneil Henry, Issey Nakajima-Farran and Milan Borjan in the lineup Canada would have been a different team.

Not that goaltending was the issue at all, as Kenny Stamatopoulos was Canada's best player of the tournament without question. In every game he made saves the kept Canada alive until the final whistle of last night's game.

The defending was also a major positive, allowing just one goal in three games. David Edgar was a leader at the back as he has always been, and led the line very well throughout the entire tournament.

But it was Dejan Jakovic who truly turned heads at this tournament. The former DC United defender was solid throughout the tournament both in terms of his on and off the ball play. He had his best game against Costa Rica giving them very little in the attack.

At this point focusing on the positive is the best way to move forward. Instead of everyone paying of their mistakes, they deserve a chance to show that they have learned from them.

Floro's leash should without a doubt be tightened, but it was always the World Cup qualifiers, and not the Gold Cup, that should be the measuring stick for this team.

At that point they will hopefully be healthier, have more of an attacking plan and be further along in their development as a team.

The rebuild is far from complete for the Canadian men's soccer team, but last night was a demonstration that at least a few bricks were in place.  It's all about how those bricks are configured that will determine the strength of this team going forward.