Canada vs. Belize
9:00 PM Eastern
FFB Stadium Belmopan, Belize
The Headliner: Getting there the right way
The law of averages would dictate that with Canada holding a 3-0 lead going into Belize tonight, they already have a foot in the door to round 4 of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. However, they aren't there yet, both in terms of reaching the next round and the form they would like to be in when they get there.
Canada was happy with a dominant performance against Belize in Toronto, which saw them hold Belize to only one shot which came nowhere near their net. However, what they were not happy with was the team's finishing, as they were unable to turn an overwhelming amount of possession and chances into goals.
This is something Canada will be looking to fix as they go into Belize tonight. Canada has traditionally been fairly poor on the road in CONCACAF, and this match would be a good place to start turning that around. In the next round of qualifying getting results on the road could make or break qualification.
What has been going well for Canada lately, and their goal again in this game, is keeping clean sheets. Defensively, Canada has proven to be incredibly hard to break down regardless of opponent. While scoring is crucial, getting a clean sheet on the road in CONCACAF is an automatic accomplishment.
Key to the Match: Adapting to the circumstances.
In the past Canadian national teams have rarely seemed prepared for the rigours of playing away matches in CONCACAF. Whether it is the antics of supporters, weather that they are not used to or just simply field conditions something has always come in the way of optimal performance.
Opponents know this, and therefore play games in the most advantageous situation possible. While Belize may not have as many resources at their disposal as the teams that Canada will really measure themselves against in CONCACAF, they will certainly have their own aspects that make up home field advantage.
As a result, Canada will have to overcome more than just the opposition players should they want to earn a positive result in today's match. Considering Belize is an easier opponent than those who they will play in the next round, it is important that this current edition of the Canadian team learn how to win away from home early.
Canada- Borjan, De Jong, Straith, Edgar, Ledgerwood, Piette, Johnson, Hutchinson, Nakajima-Farran, Ricketts, Larin
In goal, Milan Borjan takes over from Kenny Stamatopolous, who had very little to do in Canada's last match. Borjan was dealing with injury earlier in the camp, which is why he didn't start the opening game.
Canada's backline remains the same from the last match, where it was very involved in the attack. Nik Ledgerwood had an assist on Tosaint Rickett's second goal, while Marcel De Jong played a major role in the buildup for Rickett's opener.
The midfield is missing Julian De Guzman, who was injured and left the game 14 minutes into the first leg. The player who replaced him, Samuel Piette, will start tonight for Canada alongside Atiba Hutchinson and Will Johnson. All three of these midfield players had strong games in the first leg.
Up front Canada will be looking to Ricketts to continue his scoring form as of late. With four goals so far in World Cup qualifying, he is tied for the lead in CONCACAF. Alongside him Issey Nakajima-Farran and Cyle Larin will try to find the scoring touch they were missing in the first match.