Canada's Cyle Larin (red jersey) looks to elude a defender during a World Cup qualifier against visiting Mexico on March 25, 2016, in Vancouver. (Photo: Mexsport)
VANCOUVER, Canada -- The atmosphere was simply electric on Friday night inside BC Place. Those dressed in red tried to impel Canada to victory over visiting Mexico.
Despite its best efforts, the crowd of 54,798 saw the host fall 3-0 to a team that proved once again why it is unbeaten in 16 straight games and is the current Gold Cup champion.
“The real superiority of Mexico today was very clear,” Canada head coach Benito Floro said afterwards. “What matters in this moment is to analyse correctly, not only the result, but the performance. We need to instruct what is positive because the rest depended on the other team that, at the moment, is better than us.”
It was a thrilling start as both sides traded chances until Canada was ultimately undone in the last 13 minutes of the first half, when Javier Hernandez and Hirving Lozano staked Mexico to a two-goal lead.
Canada was left to rue a few missed chances, but the general consensus among squad members was that field organization wasn’t up to the usual standard.
“I think it’s more of the way we didn’t execute what we were trying to do versus what they did,” said midfielder Will Johnson. “They are going to what they’re going to do. They’re a good team. I feel that we let ourselves down and showed we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be and our structure wasn’t very good.”
Although the Canadians wouldn’t admit to scoreboard watching, their own World Cup campaign was boosted by the other result in Group A with El Salvador rallying twice from a goal down to salvage a point at home against Honduras.
Canada, however, doesn’t want to rely on other teams to get it to the final round of World Cup Qualifying for the first time since the 1998 cycle. Floro hopes that the lessons learned from the setback ultimately serve the team well.
“For us, it has been a good experience,” he finished. “We need to increase our tactical level.”
Whether that happens in Mexico City or in future qualifiers remains to be seen.