There’s good news for Canada and bad news for your nerves: the men’s national team’s quarter-final tie at the Gold Cup is very likely to be winnable.
Canada secured second place in Group A by drawing 0-0 with Honduras on Friday night, meaning they will face the runners-up in Group C in the next round.
The match will take place on Thursday, July 20, at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. It will be another late kick-off at 10pm ET.
There are three teams Canada could be facing.
The first, and least likely, is Mexico. They currently lead Group C but only on goal difference, meaning they could be at risk of dropping into second or third should they fail to win their final match on Sunday.
Thankfully that final match is against Curacao, who are yet to score a goal at the tournament. Anything other than a Mexico win would be a significant surprise, meaning we can expect El Tri to tie up top spot.
That leaves Jamaica and El Salvador, who play each other on Sunday at 6pm ET.
The advantage is with Jamaica. They are a point ahead of El Salvador, meaning a draw is enough to preserve the status quo, and are generally regarded as the better team. Both teams beat Curacao 2-0 but Jamaica took a point off Mexico, drawing 0-0. Andre Blake, the Philadelphia Union’s MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2016, has been spotless.
El Salvador lost 3-1 to Mexico and face an uphill struggle. If Panama beat Martinique on Saturday, expect El Salvador to play very defensively against Jamaica in a bid to secure the draw that would take them through to the last 16 as the second-best third-place team.
To sum up: in order of likelihood, it’s Jamaica, then El Salvador, then Mexico.
Jamaica would be no pushovers, and with Blake in net there is always the risk that all bets are off. Beyond him, the Reggae Boyz have a handful of MLS and USL players - Kemar Lawrence of the New York Red Bulls the best of them - and a couple of others at modest European clubs in addition to 10 playing in the Jamaican league.
But with Scott Arfield, Alphonso Davies, Lucas Cavallini and Milan Borjan in form and at their disposal, Canada would and should fancy their chances.