By Ivan Orozco
SEATTLE -- Borjan Milan fell to his knees, sat on his heels and began to pound the Rose Bowl turf with his hands in frustration.
The Canada goalkeeper had just seen a blazing shot by Martinique’s Fabrice Reuperne dent the back of his net in a game that seemed destined to be scoreless. Instead, Reuperne’s goal gave the Caribbeans the win with only 10 seconds remaining in second-half stoppage time.
Canada interim head coach Colin Miller doesn’t want the bitter disappointment of that loss to carry over into upcoming games. Thus, he called an early morning meeting with his players on Monday, hoping to refocus them and begin preparations for Thursday’s Group A match against Mexico at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
“We’re all feeling very, very disappointed about the way that we lost yesterday,” Miller said. “We don’t want to make excuses but we are devastated about the result but we now need to regroup as a squad and a staff.”
Miller attributed a handful of items as reasons for Canada’s recent struggles. A mixture of young and veteran players, along with not reaching the hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying and coaching changes, have all played a role.
The 48-year-old former Canadian international hopes to begin changing the script during this Gold Cup, before newly hired Benito Floro takes over as full-time head coach.
“We are going through a real transition period, not just what happened the last few days,” Miller said. “It’s a real rebuilding process in Canada. It will be a while before we fix it.”
And perhaps a good time to fix it is against Mexico, a team that is looking to rebound from a loss as well. El Tri fell 2-1 to Panama on Sunday, its first-ever setback against the Central Americans.
But Miller is not underestimating the Mexico.
“We have to be prepared for a Mexican team that, like ourselves, will be very disappointed with their [last] result,” Miller said. “It’s not very often they lose.”
And it is not often Canada gets a shot at redemption against the two-time defending Gold Cup champion.
Despite losing the first game of the tournament, Miller remained confident in his players.
“We have a lot of character in this group," Miller said. "It wasn't from a lack of effort yesterday. The players, in some cases, ran until they dropped. We now need to get everything back in the tank and be ready for Thursday."