Canada is one (multi-part) step away from qualifying for a FIFA World Cup – let that sink in for a moment before continuing.
The Canadian men’s national team qualified for the last stage in FIFA World Cup qualifying for the first time in over 20 years by dispatching Haiti 3-0, 4-0 on aggregate Tuesday in their second-round 2022 World Cup qualifying tie.
Canada largely dominated Tuesday’s second leg – played at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois as Canada’s “home” half of the tie – but needed a fluke goalkeeper error to break the seal and ease Canadians’ hearts back home.
Les Rouges arrived in Chicago with a 1-0 lead following the first leg in Port-au-Prince. Cyle Larin scored that game’s lone goal.
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An early penalty shout from Jonathan David marked the best chance of an early 10-minute spell for Canada. Larin was caught offside on an open volley moments later.
Jonathan David and Alphonso Davies continued to combine well in the half-spaces and beyond, dipping and combining well. The combo led to a quality chance 23 minutes in: A Davies cut-back pass to David at the top of the box allowed the Lille OSC striker to dash to the near post and fire a close-range shot. David, back at that near post, had Canada’s best chance of the half by forcing three saves from Haitian ‘keeper Josue Duverger – all fired into his right shoulder – in quick succession.
Canada’s finishing woes continued when centre-back Henry sent an open diving header well wide of the frame. Fellow defender Steven Vitoria had an attempt headed off the line moments later to close out a promising first half.
The second half, well, started with nothing short of a gift for Canada. Montreal-born Duverger misplayed a backpass – twice – and allowed the ball to travel past the goal line and give the Canadians a rather spectacular insurance marker.
Oh no. ?
One of the worst concessions in goalkeeping history, and #CanMNT take a 1-0 lead over Haiti
? https://t.co/hishXepRT3 pic.twitter.com/QbF3CFwdyd
— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) June 16, 2021
Canada, then up two goals in the tie, found another gear in the attacking third. More attempts from Larin and David started sailing towards the net at a rapid pace. Larin finally put one away in 72 minutes after dropping a defender and opening up all alone on the ‘keeper.
Junior Hoilett added an entertaining third on the night, fourth in the tie in the 89th minute after smashing a shot off the post and burying the rebound.
Derrick Etienne earned Haiti’s best chance of the match at the hour mark when he fired a cross wide of the near post. That was one of four shots for Haiti that paled in comparison to Canada’s 18.
Other than that, Haiti failed to generate much of a challenge for Canada who now moves on to the eight-team final-round “Octagon,” where they’ll face the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Honduras, Panama, and El Salvador – the latter two joining as fellow second-round winners. Canada is slated to kick off that final round in September with a home tilt against Honduras.
46’ Josue Duverger – Own Goal (Canada)
74′ Cyle Larin (Canada)
89′ Junior Hoilett (Canada)
61’ Yellow: Duckens Nazon (Haiti)
42′ Yellow: Bryan Alceus (Haiti)
7′ Yellow: Doneil Henry (Canada)
- No rest for the wicked: John Herdman and co. will be back in action in less than a month with the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup slated for July 11 and a group stage opener against Martinique. Canada has been drawn against Martinique, the U.S., and a yet-to-be-determined preliminary round winner.
- Herdman made one change to the squad that faced Haiti in Port-au-Prince, swapping wide player Richie Laryea for centreback Doniel Henry and moving Alistair Johnston into the wingback role occupied by Laryea.
- Haiti was without several key players Tuesday night due to COVID-19 restrictions on travel from Port-au-Prince. Starting ‘keeper Johny Placide, objectively the side’s best player in the first leg, was chief among them.
- Tuesday’s result, while massive, will serve as a small bit of consolation for Herdman’s side, which was eliminated from the 2019 Gold Cup by the Haitians in a come-from-behind quarterfinal.