TORONTO, Canada - Canada and Mexico squared off on a cold night in Edmonton at the Commonwealth Stadium. With the American's 1-1 draw against Jamaica earlier in the evening, first place in CONCACAF Qualifying was up for grabs for the winner of this match.
As the Canadians did on Friday night, they used the home crowd to their advantage and picked up a crucial win against the Mexicans defeating El Tri 2-1.
The weather was much talked about ahead of kick-off, but both teams put the cold behind them as the match got underway. It was going to be a physical match, and Canada set the tone in the opening moments with Doniel Henry’s challenge on Hirving Lozano.
The physicality was, as expected, a consistent theme throughout the first half with Canada and Mexico both getting penalized. The first half saw a combined 23 fouls between the two nations and even saw yellow cards for both coaches.
Chances were hard to come by for either team but it was the Canadians who were able to create at least a few chances. The Canadian wingers didn’t have the space on the wings they’re used to and had to work hard for the few chances they did create.
Right before half-time, Allistair Johnston was able to win the ball in the Mexico half and hit a half-volley from some distance, troubling the Mexican ‘keeper, Guillermo Ochoa. Ochoa could only knock it directly into the path of Cyle Larin who made no mistake giving Canada the lead.
With the momentum of the goal, Canada started the second half with a lot of confidence. It didn't take long for the Canadians to strike once again. In the 52nd minute, with Stephen Eustaquio earning a foul in the Mexican half, he delivers a great ball into the El Tri box and once again, Larin makes an inch-perfect run and side-footing the cross home.
Along with Atiba Hutchinson, who set a new Canadian Men’s National Team record with his appearance tonight, Cyle Larin took a step towards breaking another Men’s National Team with his pair of goals tonight. Larin tied Dwayne DeRosario for most goals (22) in his 41st appearance for his country.
With Mexico applying more and more pressure in search of even one goal, Mexico finally found a way past Milan Borjan as Hector Herrera was able to put one past the Canadian keeper, just as the game entered added time. With the scoreline reading, 2-1 and time still left, El Tri was not ready to give up just yet. Once again, Borjan was called into action to clear the ball off of the line and in doing so secured the three points for Les Rouges.
Canada will end the year at the top of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying standings and will regroup in the new year starting the January window with a matchup in Honduras.
Canada: Cyle Larin (45’+2’, 52)
Mexico: Hector Herrera (90’)