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Canada vs. Costa Rica Match Day Thread: Hopeful advantage in Hoth-like environment

CanMNT have an opportunity to increase their lead over Costa Rica by 7 points in the FIFA World Cup CONCACAF qualifier table.

Canadian fans cheer on players as the half-time whistle blows vs. Panama.
(Sean Pollock/Waking The Red)

Canada enters tonight’s match against Costa Rica with a four point lead in the standings, a much better goal differential to date, is coming off a statement 4-1 win against Panama their last time out and has home field advantage and more familiarity playing in frigid temperatures. Despite many things favouring Canada in tonight’s match, Costa Rica holds the historical match-up advantage over Canada with 8 wins, 9 draws and 5 losses; in fact, Canada has only defeated Costa Rica once on home soil.

On paper, this is an opportune time to face Costa Rica and to build a two-game winning streak and further momentum ahead of a tough fixture against Mexico on Tuesday. As mentioned in Adam’s preview post, Costa Rica’s defensive solidity in the Octagonal to this point will be tested with their best player and goalkeeper, Keylor Navas, out with a knee injury and two of their fullbacks also missing out due to injuries. Tonight’s match will be a clash of styles as Costa Rica’s defensive resiliency and veteran presence is a stark contrast to Canada’s youth, pace, and offensive talent.

Even though Canada’s goal differential is currently seven better than Costa Rica’s, seven of their 10 goals have come in 2 matches — against El Salvador and Panama. Canada’s scoring has been fairly balanced through the first seven matches with Cyle Larin, Tajon Buchanan and Jonathan David leading the way with two each, while Atiba Hutchinson and Alphonso Davies have each found the back of the net once. The return of Larin and the potential debut of new recruit, Ike Ugbo, should only increase Canada’s threat in front of goal and help to open up even more space for the likes of Davies, Buchanan, Millar and David.

A win for Canada tonight would create a seven-point gap between them and Costa Rica, while also potentially bringing them to 2nd place in the region for the time being depending on the outcome of the US and Mexico match.

For more discussion and insight on Canada’s upcoming two games and squad, also check out Andre’s preview post and my previous squad selection post.

Canada - Borjan, Adekugbe, Miller, Vitoria, Eustaquio, Buchanan, Kaye, Davies, David, Millar, Laryea

Costa Rica - Moreira, Blanco, Duarte, Calvo, Oviedo, Tejeda, Salas, Galo, Campbell, Bennette, Ortiz, Suarez

WHAT: Canada vs. Costa Rica

WHERE: Commonwealth Stadium | Edmonton, Alberta

WHEN: Friday, November 12th 9:00 pm ET | 6:00 pm PT

CAN TV: Broadcast on Sportsnet and OneSoccer