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Preview: Canadian MNT can book Gold Cup quarter-final spot with win over Haiti

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Les Rouges are three points away from the last eight.

Canada v Martinique: Group B - 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

Following a convincing 4-1 triumph over Martinique in matchday one, the Canadian men’s national team are back in action against a familiar opponent in their second game of the 2021 Gold Cup group stage.

John Herdman’s men take on Haiti exactly one month to the day since the 3-0 victory that sent Canada through to the final round of World Cup Qualifying.

While Haiti will eye revenge, the Reds will have their sights set on booking their place in the Gold Cup quarterfinals with a match to spare. Canada will once again play at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City with kickoff set for 7:30 pm EST. You can watch the match on OneSoccer.

Despite going behind after 10 minutes, goals from Cyle Larin, Jonathan Osorio, Stephen Eustáquio and Theo Corbeanu ensured Canada’s Gold Cup campaign got off to a winning start. Tajon Buchanan was one of many standout performers who now look set to spearhead this Davies and David-less Canada side for the duration of the tournament.

The Martinique win was one of a few milestones as well. Junior Hoilett became the men’s national team’s all-time assist leader, Larin moved up to joint-fifth in the all-time top scorer’s list, and Eustáquio became the 101st different goalscorer in the history of the national side.

Canada’s three-goal victory was enough to give them top spot in the group after the opening round of fixtures as the United States were only able to beat Haiti by one goal.

If The Reds defeat Haiti and the USA triumphs over Martinique, Group B’s two island nations will have no hope of reaching the knockout stages.

Now on the brink of elimination, Haiti will surely be channeling their 2019 Gold Cup energy coming into this one. As many still remember, Les Grenadiers came from two goals down at halftime to beat Canada 3-2 in the quarterfinals two years ago.

Dumping Haiti out of World Cup Qualifying contention may have healed some Canadian wounds, but fans and players alike will hope to deal yet another blow in the space of a month to the Haitian national side.

With no fresh injury concerns to report as of now, those who started the game against Martinique will likely retain their places in the eleven. Canada, though, already has six players on yellow cards after quite the testy affair in matchday one. Eustáquio, Alistair Johnston, Steven Vitória, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Liam Fraser and Lucas Cavallini are each at risk of missing Canada’s final group game against the USA if they pick up a yellow card against Haiti.

For this upcoming game, Haiti will be without seven members of their Gold Cup squad. Les Grenadiers have unfortunately been hit hard by COVID-19 during the early stages of the competition, as four more players tested positive on Wednesday. The Haitian camp has now recorded nine total cases since they began the tournament, as five players and an assistant coach also contracted the novel virus before the side’s opening fixture against the USA.

This meeting will be the 14th time Canada and Haiti square off on the international stage, with history favouring yet another Canadian win. Despite losing their first ever meeting with Haiti in 1973, Canada has won nine of 13 total matches against their fellow CONCACAF nation. Two of those nine wins came just last month in the second round of FIFA World Cup Qualifying, and with Canada yet to taste anything but victory in 2021, Herdman’s men will feel confident that they can seal a third win against Haiti in 2021.

Haiti have won just six of their last 15, with their most recent victory coming against Bermuda in the second round of Gold Cup qualification last week. Les Grenadiers have not beaten a side in the top 100 of the FIFA World Rankings since triumphing over Canada in the 2019 Gold Cup.

The Canadian national side has not lost a game since falling 1-0 to Iceland in a friendly back in January 2020. Les Rouges’ last competitive defeat came against the USA during a CONCACAF Nations League clash in November 2019.

With 12 wins in their last 15 games in all competitions, the wind is firmly in Canada’s sail as they continue to build on an impressive start to their 2021 campaign so far.