Canada (pictured) trains ahead of its World Cup qualifier at Belize. (Photo courtesy of Canada Soccer)
TORONTO -- A three-goal lead after the opener of a two-game series is usually an insurmountable advantage.
While Canada finds itself in that precise position heading into Tuesday’s third round, second leg World Cup qualifier against host Belize, head coach Benito Floro isn't taking progression to the next round for granted.
"Three goals is a good result, but not enough for us to relax for the next game," Floro said after Friday’s 3-0 win in Toronto.
The Canadians attempted 25 shots at BMO Field, but were unlucky on numerous opportunities that would have increased the goal difference.
Midfielder/defender Nik Ledgerwood viewed the result from various perspectives, knowing that preventing goals is just as important as scoring them.
“I think it was a positive performance,” stressed the 30-year-old. “I think that’s what we need to do at home is have a clean sheet and score goals.
“On the other side of it, I think we could have punished them a lot worse today and I think it would have made the job down in Belize a lot easier. We’re just happy we got the third goal, I think that means a lot, especially going down there now and still having to get a respectable result.”
A “respectable result” will be one that guarantees progression to the fourth round. That means a win, a draw or even losses of 1-0 or 2-0, at FFB Stadium in Belmopan will see the Canadians through.
Results, though, are sometimes determined by factors out of anyone’s control, including the weather conditions. At kick-off time, the temperature is expected to be a fairly comfortable 81˚F (27 ˚C), but the humidity will be on the high side.
“I think we are used to playing in those climates,” said veteran midfielder Atiba Hutchinson, who scored the final goal in Friday’s victory. “A lot of the guys played in Houston. It was very hot over the summer in the Gold Cup. We’ll just have to be ready for that and just be focused mentally, have a good start to the game and do the business.”