The Canadian men's national team has gone full college student and left all their work till the last minute. Tonight against El Salvador, Canada will need a huge victory in their last game of the semi-final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in order to advance. They will also need Mexico to win, also by multiple goals, against Honduras.
Canada has not reached the final round of World Cup qualifying since the cycle for the 1998 World Cup. They will likely have to wait another four years at least before it happens again. Canada needs to win and overcome a six-goal differential if they want to advance. For a team who has only scored twice all round, that is going to be a tall order.
Here are three big stories going into this match:
How Canada advances
As aforementioned, today's scenario isn't exactly straightforward for the Canadian men's national team. A 2-1 loss to Honduras means they need a lot of things to go their way in order to advance today. Here is a full breakdown of possible scenarios from MLSSoccer.com's Daniel Squizzato.
Hey gang. Here’s how we make the Hex. #canMNT pic.twitter.com/Q1JeZPUs5R— Daniel Squizzato (@DanielSquizzato) September 4, 2016
The most likely way that Canada advances probably comes down to a huge win for Mexico, it is hard to see Canada winning by more than two to three goals. That means Mexico will have to do a lot of heavy lifting for Canada, which isn't great news because they have already clinched top spot in the group.
The other game to watch: Mexico v. Honduras
Kicking off at 10:00 p.m., is another game that will be of serious interest to Canadian men's national team supporters: Mexico vs. Honduras. That game will largely decide Canada's fate before they even take to the field against El Salvador. It will determine how difficult Canada's mission becomes.
Mexico is already top of the group no matter what, but may be looking for revenge on Honduras after losing to them at home in the last cycle. This is also their first home game since a 7-0 loss to Chile in the semi-final of the Copa America Centenario. Canada can hope that has them motivated.
Offense, Offense, Offense
Canada has only scored twice so far this tournament, and with good reason. They have played defensively most matches, trying to grind out draws and marginal victories. It has perhaps helped them and hurt them at the same time.
Today, however, it is all about the attack. Canada simply needs goals, and a lot of them, if they are going to keep going in this competition. That means Benito Floro's tactics will be under heavy scrutiny today, as fans look to see what his plan is to get a team that seemingly can't score to find the back of the net.
To be released at 9:00 p.m.
Venue: BC Place, Vancouver, British Columbia
Kickoff: 10:00 p.m. Eastern
Streaming: TSN Go